Lent: 40 Days of Rehab

“Nothing kills a great buzz like 28 days of rehab.” Thus began Fr. Dale’s sermon at Mass at Christ the King yesterday morning. He talked about the self-absorption and isolation that addiction to drugs and alcohol fosters, how one addicted to alcohol shuns friends and family who might disapprove of their behavior and locks themselves away with their bottle (and perhaps some cooking shows on television). Why, he asked, would one choose alcohol over loving community – the darkness and isolation of addiction over the light and love of family and friends?

In today’s Gospel from St. John, we hear the line so frequently quoted or cited: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. But the offer of eternal life isn’t always accepted. The Gospel goes on to say that (like the addict) “this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light.”

Why would anyone choose darkness to light? Why, when God offers abundant love and eternal life, when God keeps trying to draw us closer and closer in God’s loving embrace, do people choose to stay in darkness?

The darkness is less satisfactory, but as Fr. Dale observed, it is also familiar. We can hide things in the dark, we can avoid the hard truths that the light exposes.

Lent, he suggested, is like rehab. We come to this time each year to try to respond more fully to the invitation God always offers for us to come into the light. To cast off the familiar in favor of that which is not only more satisfying, but which is the most, the best, that we can be. Coming further out of the darkness can be hard – some hurtful and painful things can get exposed when we come into the light. But the payoff is priceless.

Fr. Dale closed his homily by observing, “Nothing cures a Christian like 40 days of rehab.”

We are now 26 days into Lent. How is your rehab going?