Lent and Easter provide us with the opportunity “to go forth weeping so that we can come back rejoicing,” so that we can “turn to the Lord and live.” (Responsorial Psalm) The challenge is personal conversion.
The challenge is also social conversion, the transformation of the world. We are not to retreat from the world into a closet of private spirituality; rather, we ask God in this Lenten season “to help us to embrace the world you have given us, that we may transform the darkness of its pain into the life and joy of Easter.”
It is easy for the Christian to take a self-righteous attitude toward the world; it is much more difficult to take Jesus’ attitude: “Neither do I condemn you: go and do not sin again.” All of us have contributed to the darkness of the world; none of us can cast the first stone.
Easter is on its way. God is preparing a new world order for us: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” Having done our part to bring the darkness, will we now participate in doing something new?
We know as Christians that the most effective response to the ills of the world is ours to make, the duty to seek justice and equality resides with each of us. Here, in the painfully slow changing of our own lives and in the agony of living out our vocations, lies the essential key to a more decent and more human world.
U.S. Bishops, To Do the Work of Justice, 47, 1978.