When I get a few free minutes, I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV. My favorite kinds of shows are found on HGTV or DIY. I find shows about remodeling and construction to be fascinating and I’ve learned a lot about home repair from people like Mike Holmes and Cindy Stumpo. The readings for the ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time remind us about the importance of building our spiritual home on the Rock—Jesus Christ.
When a person decides to build a structure on a piece of land, he first surveys it, tests the soil, and then decides whether a strong foundation can be constructed. If the foundation is not secure, the building will eventually develop problems or even collapse. If the land proves suitable, construction begins. If the builder is wise, she will be present during all of the phases of construction to ensure that shortcuts are not taken and that any problems are corrected before they become irreparable. When builders try to cut corners or use inferior materials, the structure will eventually develop problems which inevitably will cost thousands of dollars to repair.
If conscientious builders take precautions to ensure a quality construction, how much more should we be attentive to building our spiritual home? Like Mike Holmes who inspects homes for shoddy workmanship and Cindy Stumpo who is meticulous when it comes to construction, each of us is called to take an inventory of how strongly built our spiritual home is.
Are there cracks in our foundation of faith? Have we taken some shortcuts in educating ourselves about the Catholic faith? Are some foundational bricks missing? Perhaps we may need to do some more study and reflection on God’s Word to provide the spiritual mortar that will solidify and strengthen us to continue in our mission as Christian men and women. Does our spiritual home have some holes in the roof or leaking windows or missing pieces of siding through which the winds of secularism blow, detracting us from God’s Word and leading us away from the truth? Perhaps the rains and snows of political correctness, popular opinion and the desire for acceptance have rendered our spiritual homes cold and lifeless because the fire of our faith has grown dim. Sometimes the daily routine of life has beaten us down so many times that we have turned our backs on the needy, the unborn, the elderly, the undereducated and those who are suffering.
Lent is an opportunity for renewal in our spiritual lives. If we have become complacent Catholics, now is the time to get back in the game. If our spiritual homes need repair, Lent affords us the grace to do some renovation. We need to ask ourselves, “do I merely ‘go with flow’ or do I truly stand up for my beliefs?” “Am I truly hungry for the Word of God, or am I content to eat the “food” that secular society gives me?”
When I was younger, Lent was a time to fast or abstain from something. We were told to give up candy or cigarettes or snacks. As I got older, I discovered that instead of giving up something, it was more beneficial to add something to my daily or weekly routine. Perhaps we could spend an extra ten minutes in prayer each day or participate in a devotion that our parish is having during Lent such as the Way of the Cross or Benediction. For some of us, we might consider making a commitment to call or visit a relative or friend from whom we have become estranged. If our child or someone in our family has a game, a concert, or a recital we might make it a priority to attend (especially if we haven’t been to an event in a long time). We could consider volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen or campaigning for a worthy cause such as cancer research or the pro-life movement. Whatever we decide to do this Lent, may it be a means by which our spiritual homes are strengthened. During this holy season may we grow as a people of faith and try to more perfectly become the person God has called us to be.