Second Sunday of Lent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“Because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity he brought you out from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” Every person has an “Egypt” – a place that tends to enslave and oppress them. For one person, their Egypt may be a job that they dislike or an assignment they are unhappy with. For another, their Egypt might be a bad, neglectful or abusive relationship.  For others, it could be poverty, homelessness, underemployment or a serious struggle with an addiction or addictive material. Praise God that he did not create us to live in slavery or oppression but in the freedom of his love. However, sin and poor choices put us in the desert place we can call our Egypt.  A desolate place that is dark, gloomy and unpleasant, which robs us of God’s joy. However, thanks be to God, Jesus came to set prisoners and captives free. He came to set us free. We must choose to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus out of our Egypt and into his peace. If a job enslaves you, then perhaps it’s time for a new job. We know this is not particularly easy. You may have to sacrifice seniority or a good salary. Take it to Jesus in prayer. If a relationship enslaves you, then maybe it’s time to discern if it’s the right one. We must learn to sit down and listen to each other. What are the needs, expectations, responsibilities? Try to work it out. It’s not easy to talk when we are wounded or hurting. Jesus can help us to heal if we ask him. If addictive behavior like alcoholism, substance abuse, over eating, pornography, gaming, or lying enslaves you, we must be willing to say to ourselves, we have a problem and seek help. It’s not comfortable looking into a mirror or looking into our hearts and seeing our shortcomings and vulnerabilities but it’s necessary to follow Christ and  embrace the new life he offers us. In recognizing what enslaves or oppresses us, we can seek the God who is ready to help when we cry out to him. He delivers us from our Egypt. He leads us through the stress of finding the right job. He helps us resolve relationships that have become problematic. He helps us recover from addictive behavior and brings us the joy of pardon and peace. Christ awaits all who are willing to follow him out of their Egypt and into his peace.

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