In 2010 the host’s of Top Gear, a popular British television show about cars, performed a test of durability for a 1980 Toyota Hilux pick up truck. They began simply by running it into trees and buildings around Southern England. They stepped up their game by fully submerging it in the English Channel over an evening, they lit it on fire, smashed it with a wrecking ball, and finally tied it to a 23 story building and blew the building up. Against all odds with very little mechanical assistance not only did the truck start, but they were able to drive it away without any real problem. This vehicle proved itself against impossible odds to be reliable in all circumstances. We depend on things, I think far more than we realize—whether it be our car, our phone, our computer, or some other gizmo when one of these things goes haywire we find ourselves in trouble. We try to build in layers of self-protection by creating back up plans and the like. But a question then arises are we simply trying to control life or keep God at a safe distance where we can see Him and ask Him to come over when we need Him or do we actually live a life where He is involved in our hearts even more than we are with our stuff. Jesus said no one can serve 2 masters. He will either be devouted to one and despise the other or love one and hate the other. These are pretty harsh words, I mean no one of us here would say that we hate or despise God, but how many of us love and devout ourselves to the things of this world. In the Rite of Acceptance for monks in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy the man lay cruciform in the middle of the sanctuary as a black pal, similar to the one they use at funerals is placed over him as hymns are chanted. This sign of his death to the world is his first major step in his new life in Christ. As Catholics our focus on death is not some dark fixation or morbid thought, rather it is the needed reminder that all things come to an end EXCEPT our relationship with God, with Him who cares for the birds and the flowers and provides for their needs like a mother who never forgets even the most intimate of details. I just recently went to my first 2nd grade girls birthday party. It was an emoji themed party with emoji napkins, emoji plates, emoji balloons, and of course emoji cupcakes all to make her girl know she is special we are truly special to our God who knows all our needs and desires and yearns to provide for us like a mother on her girls bday.
As Lent is near upon us what if we were to heed the words of Christ and sought first His kingdom, not just choosing some random thing to give up or sacrifice like the same thing we do every year, but we made it our prayer, our intention to rely more on Him then ever before, surely He is more dependable than some beat up pick up truck. He was beaten and bruised, crucified and died all to say I’m not leaving you ever, my love will never fail you. This Lent is a time to forget whatever mammon is in our life and it is our opportunity to choose God, to choose to love Him, devout ourselves to Him and make the personal statement that He is my Master.