By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
On Ash Wednesday Catholics and other groups entered into the season of Lent with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. (Joel 2:1-19 )
Journalists published pictures of priests marking an ashy sign of the Cross on the foreheads or gray hairs of penitents. As is the case every year most of us were looking upon this time as an opportunity for self-improvement!
But this year of 2021 is different. We have been bombarding Heaven with anxious petitions for our sick relatives and friends. We have had too many sad opportunities to commend the victims of the pandemic to the eternal care of the Good Shepherd. We have poured out laments to God that the divisions within our families and the violence in our nation and the alienation between humans, who are after all, master works of the same Creator, might be healed.
A new Lenten exercise has already overwhelmed us in the isolation of staying at home and of avoiding many activities we had once enjoyed. We have also learned a new sort of discipline during the icy grip of the Arctic blast which converted our lawns into snow banks. ERCOT punished us with rolling electrical outages which never seemed to end. Isolation and chill and darkness were our lot.
Rather than dusting off our old resolutions for Lent, maybe we would do better to read the message of Isaiah (chapter 58). To please God, we have to look around us at the world we read about in the daily newspaper.
For a Lent that gets the attention of God: pledge a goal of bondedness with others, dispossession of stuff and interdependence with the natural world. With perseverance during these 40 days and beyond, we can make our world great again!
Remember, God is love, ashes are us!
Father Timothy Gollob is a retired priest of the Diocese of Dallas and a longtime contributor to The Texas Catholic.