God’s Faithfulness – First Sunday of Lent 2018

Source: impetservice.com

We have begun the sacred season of Lent. A good friend sent this text message to me on Ash Wednesday [Valentine’s Day]: “Happy Valentine’s Day!! It is not lost on me that we start the Season of Lent with love and end up on April 1 [Easter Sunday] Holy fools.”

Source: always faithfulradio.wordpress.com

A good and appropriate coincidence? Despite the fact that so much of our language is about sin and brokenness and mercy, this season celebrates God’s merciful love for us, and invites us to extend that same mercy to others and to all creation. It’s not difficult for us to see ourselves as holy fools, as we attempt to live faithful lives in our culture.

Rainbow over Jerusalem. Source: pinterest.com

Today’s readings include the symbol of the rainbow. The rainbow has become associated with peace, with hope and with gay pride. But its primary use is in the Old Testament story of Noah and the flood, symbolizing God’s promises of faithfulness and mercy.

The Book of Genesis reminds us today of the covenant between God and God’s people. God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

The rainbow is all the more true as a symbol because it is reflected from the storm itself. That certainly has significant symbolism for our personal lives. The rainbow of God’s peace is only possible because of the earlier storms and turmoil in the skies and in our lives.

Source: ww1.cbn.com

As most of the rainfall in Palestine is in the form of short heavy showers, it is often accompanied by the rainbow. Most beautiful double bows are often seen, and occasionally the moon is bright enough to produce the bow. The point is that while the rainbow is hung in the sky God must be at peace with His people.

I think that it is in clear and evident symbols that we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to God’s people, and God’s faithfulness to each one of us personally (i.e., beyond a collective sense).

Many of my close friends are aware of my own expression of sky wisdom … call it lunacy. For as long as I can remember, I have associated the appearance of the sliver of the new moon with God’s faithfulness.

Source: roshchodeshewmoon.com

I come out in the evening and its appearance tells me that all is right and that God is with me. I feel the same thing when I go outside in the pre-dawn morning and see the moon setting. I believe that we all need simple things like this, to remind us that God is with us. What helps you to hold on to the certainty of God’s love?

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.


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