Day 31: Let Lent Unfold

BY ELISE GOWER | March 15th, 2024
Today’s readings

Sometimes when I write a reflection I get a little stuck. The words don’t flow easily. I haven’t quite landed on the message. I think today’s Gospel might be an invitation to embrace the unknowing. To be open to something unfolding that we can’t quite know or see yet. 

The word that comes to mind when I read this gospel passage is confusion. Folks seem confused.

Is he not the one they are trying to kill?

Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?

When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.

But then Jesus implies,

“You know me and also know where I am from.

…but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.”

Despite feeling a bit lost in this scripture, I understand it because I know the end of the story.

I recently moved to my childhood hometown. It’s been an adjustment returning to something so familiar, yet unknown. It’s a place that holds great tension for me – what I once knew and who I’ve since become. I came back with assumptions; with narrow perspectives that didn’t leave much room for change; with judgements that prevented an openness to receiving something new. 

I wonder if we approach Lent in this way.  We know the story of resurrection, so how deeply do we really invest in preparing?  Admittedly, there have been Lenten seasons that have resulted in me thinking, “I’ll do better next year.” 

My counselor often says to me, “Let it unfold. Stop trying to unfold it.” What if we replaced certainty with confusion?  With a desire to discover a resurrection we don’t yet know. To seek Jesus in the most unpredictable place? To imagine a Jesus I haven’t known before.  To remove the shoulds and monotonous patterns that limit this holy season. What if we let Lent unfold?

6 replies
  1. Lauren Morton
    Lauren Morton says:

    What if….? I like the question because it opens up the possibility of making room for God and wonder. Thank you!

  2. Diane
    Diane says:

    Let it unfold! I heard this as an affirmation.
    I recognize that I am finding peace around the on going issue of my parents declining health (and mine). I’ve stopped trying to figure out what the next crisis will be; because every one, so far, could not have been anticipated anyway! By just letting it unfold, I can be present to what is going on and be present to what is!
    As I companion others in the Sp Exercises in every day life, I notice as they enter 3rd week there is sometime (much of the time) a hesitation of this kind of walking with Jesus. It is scary and messy and yes we know the horror of Good Friday. This is the unfolding.
    Yes I know the joy of the resurrection on Easter is coming.
    It is for my parents (and me). But the gift is still offered in the now to accompany Jesus, to just be with him. I pray for the grace of compassion and sorrow, for Jesus in his passion, and by staying close to him I learn again and again how “love manifests itself more in deeds than in words.”

  3. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    “ To remove the shoulds and monotonous patterns that limit this holy season. What if we let Lent unfold?”
    That’s gonna stay with me. Thank you for this

  4. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    “ To remove the shoulds and monotonous patterns that limit this holy season. What if we let Lent unfold?”

    That’s going to stay with me. Fridays in lent have not being going my way. Much needed. Thank you

  5. Roy Fanthome
    Roy Fanthome says:

    With respect. I do not see “should and monotonous patterns” as restrictive. As scripture teaches us; If one asks you to go a mile with him (her), go an extra mile. That is the spirit of our discipleship. Commandments ( and precepts) show us the way. The object and destination remain the same. Our world is too much with us and assumes control over us. Its “monotonous patterns”, first envisaged as guides, assume the status of “Dictates”.
    Fortunately. We are free of some of the traditional “patterns” – no more fasting, abstaning from meat on Fridays etc. Our observances are keeping pace with the evolution of spirituality and our “enlightenment’. We are, in a way, looking beyond “patterns”, and reason, to wisdom illuminated by Love. That, is our Lord’s message for us. Only Love matters. Patterns and traditions are props for those who do not see the trees for the wood.

  6. Eileen G
    Eileen G says:

    Let it unfold ..give up the frustration and trying to control the outcome ahead of time..planning ahead for the unknown
    A big step,a bit frightening for me who needs to know so I can manage
    Put it in Gods hands and believe that all will be as it should in Gods time not mine


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