Lenten Reflection: Letting Ourselves Be Changed Through Christ

"Are you open to the possibility that your life may change?" When Jack Jezreel developed the initial JustFaith program for his parish in 1989, he wrote this question on the flyer. What started with a group of 13 interested Catholics soon spread like wildfire to churches across the country - Catholic and otherwise.
The ministry of JustFaith is rooted in the love of Christ, which, as Jack notes, is more than a love without conditions, but is also a love without exceptions. Not only are we called to love our friends, family, neighbors, and fellow citizens, but all people. We are commanded to love them, be they rich, poor, immigrants, thieves, Muslims, Christians, liberals, conservatives, murderers, ill, homeless - whether they burden us, hate us, anger us, confuse us, frighten us, or even harm and kill us. We are commanded to love without condition or exception.

As we continue down another Lenten journey, Jack Jezreel's question is one that we should ask ourselves. Are we open to our lives to changing through Christ? As we prepare for the sacrifice of his death and the promise of his resurrection, are we willing to follow him in the path of love without exception? Are we prepared to be guided by this love towards God's other commandments - that we be peacemakers; that we hunger for justice; that we stand up for human dignity and oppose the oppression, violence, and hatred that diminishes it?

It is fitting that, while we reflect during Lent upon the life of Christ and His death on the cross, we also this month commemorate the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero. As one of the great modern examples of Christian witness and sacrifice, Romero's story demonstrates how we often react in fear to a love as uncompromising and perfect as God's. But, as always, we realize that Christ's suffering ultimately leads to triumph over death. And, in growing in genuine love, especially for the poor and vulnerable, we grow closer to God.