Lent Calls Us to Friendship with Jesus
Lent Reflection - Third week of Lent
by Father John McFadden, Parochial vicar, St. Peter Parish, Geneva
March 17, 2022
I had the opportunity to spend a good chunk of my first Ash Wednesday as a priest visiting grade school classrooms. One thing the students asked several times was: Why do we have Ash Wednesday? 
I told them it’s to kick-start the season of Lent, but they were curious still: Why do we have this season of Lent? I think it’s a question worth answering. 
The Church calls us into this sacrificial season as an opportunity to grow in friendship with Jesus. If we want to grow deeper in friendship, we can’t only share the joyful moments of life with those we care about. We must also accompany our friends in the more challenging seasons of life. 
We know it isn’t good to let others remain alone in certain situations; it’s why we go visit grandparents or parents when they start to get older. It’s why when our friends get sick or go to the hospital, we go to visit them, even if we don’t talk or say very much at all. 
When we experience want or lack, we experience even more deeply that we are made for communion, that we are made to be in relationship and friendship with others. It’s no different with Jesus. 
Lent is Christ’s invitation to accompany Him into the desert, to just be with Him throughout these 40 days. We give things up, fast and abstain from meat so we can share in the hunger and thirst of Jesus as He walks forward in doing the will of the Father. We get to “keep Jesus company” and share in His thirst. 
This Lent, we are being called to think about the penitential practices not only as rules given to us by the Church but as opportunities to get to know our friend Jesus and join in His desire for the Father in a practical and concrete way. 
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