I Want… A Lenten Reflection

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I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
2 Corinthians 11:26-28

We all have wants and needs, statements like this are throughout the bible, someone is always complaining, from the beginning of time until now. Adam, our first parent, complained that he had no one, than he turned around and disobeyed God. The Israelites complained for 40 years and every time they did, God responded, gave them what they asked for and on and on it went…. 

In the New Testament we see more of the same, I want this, I need that, I desire this…. And so it goes… But the question is, Is that really a bad thing? Is it really a bad thing to want, to desire, to need? Some will say yes, in fact most will say yes.

But I say, maybe not…

Jesus wanted

Sure we never hear him say I want this or that, but He wanted. He wanted to know who people said he was,

[ Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah ] Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
Mark 8:26-28

He wanted people to follow him

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 18:21-23

He wanted friendship

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Matthew 26:37-39

We all have wants and needs, wanting and needing, in-of-it-self is not a bad thing, it how we want or need that makes the difference. Jesus, from the cross, teaches us the way to want, they way to need, when he utters the words “I am thirsty.

[ The Death of Jesus ] Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:27-29

Jesus was asking for his thirst to be satisfied, but not the thirst of humanity, but the thirst for humanity. A subtle difference, but a major one. In the first, OF HUMANITY, this is a biological thirst, a thirst for water the second FOR HUMANITY is a spiritual thirst, a thirst for the souls of man. Jesus is thirsting for us, for our souls, he has offered his life upon the cross, so he can consume us, drink us in and quench not his thirst but ours.

This is the difference, Jesus wants, not for His sake, but always for yours. His need for friendship was not for Him, but for us. He understands our needs, and wants to fulfill them, if we allow Him to. By asking his friends to stay with Him on the night He was betrayed was not to comfort Him, but for Jesus to teach us comfort. His needs and wants only reflect ours. Jesus does not need humanity, but humanity needs Him.

This Lent, ask yourself why you are giving this or that up, why are you giving up smoking or candy or TV? Is it just to satisfy the Lenten obligation? Why are you not eating meat on Fridays, just to be in good standing with the Church? Lent offers us an opportunity to truly discern our needs and wants, to truly offer up to God our prayers and desires. But ask yourself, do you have the Thirst OF  or a Thirst FOR, are you observing Lent because its expected of you or because its pleasing to God?

Lent is a time of reflection, a time to clean the spiritual house, use the forty days to cleanse your temple and to learn the true meaning of want and need. The true meaning of Lent, learn from the Christ, who hung upon the cross, not for His wants or needs, but for ours.

God Bless & Happy Lent

Paul Sposite

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