Well, since today, Monday, is "Clean Monday" in the Byzantine Orthodox Churches, as of today, everybody's in Lent. For the ACCA, Lent began last Monday, and yesterday was the First Sunday in Lent for us, "the Sunday of the Leper".
Romans 6:12-23: "Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies...The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Psalm 142: 1,2, 6,7: "I cry to the Lord...bring me out of prison that I may give thanks to thy name."
Mark 1:40-45: "A leper came to Jesus beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean."
Lent is the pre-eminent season of repentance, of returning to the Lord. We are called to this, not only by the Church, through the calendar, but by our need. We find ourselves unable, of our own strength, to free ourselves from sin, from the passions which drive us, addict us, sicken us, alienate us from ourselves and our communities. We find ourselves in prisons of our own making. We discover that spritually, we are lepers, suffering with a disease that, unless healed, will completely destroy us. But when we turn, when we re-turn to the Lord, we know that he will, that he will heal us. We fail in fasting. The Lord will heal us. We struggle with prayer, with the giving of ourselves by way of our time, talent, and treasure. He will heal us. But we must come. So let us come, knowing he loves humanity and that with him, not only are all things possible, but that he desires nothing more greatly than to make us whole, if we would but let him. To him be glory forever.