A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The Test of Two Worlds

Fr Bernard Carney sm

Fr Bernard Carney sm

We have just, it seems, completed the celebrations of Christmas and we are asking the question, ‘Where did all that time go.’  Towards the end of  this month of February we are stepping out into the season of Lent.

Many people of all persuasions embrace Christmas. It is a holiday time and a time of the exchange of gifts. After a long year of work the human spirit can relate to a time of rest and celebration.

If our world  just rests on materialism, then the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas and the accompanying story of the humble birth has no meaning. The human side of our culture obscures the religious Christmas cards, crib scenes and carols. The material side of humanity has no place in its story for such beliefs.

The Christian believer, on the other hand, has another world to relate to. It is a world which has its beginnings in the Old Testament with the promises of the prophets and the lives of the holy men and women of that era. Lent symbols

A promise was made to mend a broken world so that the relationship between humanity and God could become a living reality and flourish. The birth of Jesus from his mother Mary was the first step in this promise becoming a reality.

The way Jesus lived and died is the culmination of the promises made.

This is where our second world – our world of faith and acceptance of His promises becomes the Christian pilgrim’s reality. Humanity can easily accept the  first world, the step of faith into the world of a spiritual reality is a more difficult call.

The season of Lent helps us to accept sin and redemption. Just as the story of Christmas is told over and over, so the story of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection is told over and over in the Church’s annual cycle of the Liturgy. We  begin with Ash Wednesday and we are reminded of our frailty  and sinfulness. The ashes on our forehead tell us our bodies are not going to last forever.

Our Baptism is our formal entry into this second world. By our faith we accept our place in Jesus’ intentions for us. The work we have to do in this world of the spirit is personal to each one of us. The good news is we will not be doing it alone. There are many who share the same faith and gather in the same Church to help us negotiate our way as we travel within these two worlds. Our step forward during this Lent re-affirms us in our faith. 

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