Sundays in Lent, Joys in Sorrows

A friend recently shared this video, which may be a bit difficult for some of you to watch. For me, it is a reminder of family and personal history, and a good demonstration of an important Catholic principle. As I mentioned in my recent vlog, I’m a mutt. Lots of nationalities. One of them is Ashkenazi Jewish. I am part Jewish, enough to get the attention of the Nazis. It goes deeper than that, though. I had Jewish friends in high school and I volunteered for three years at the local Jewish nursing home.

Some older friends of my mothers, both Jews, were married in Auschwitz. You might ask yourself, “why would anyone get married in Auschwitz? Why mar your marriage with that horrible memory?” The wedding dress was sewn from the parachute of some unfortunate allied soldier who missed his target. They even used straps from the chute to readjust the dress size for different women, and passed it along, person to person, wedding to wedding.

In the midst of dark times, we need joy. This is why we Catholics embrace each Lenten Sunday as a “Little Easter.” Of course, Lent is no Auschwitz, but you can see that even in Auschwitz, simple, human joys like weddings were important. These joys give us more than a fleeting pleasure, they give us hope. We must hold on to that hope, that little piece of chocolate that keeps us grounded. Life will go on. History will go on. People will continue marrying and dancing and feasting. Only in the end will this cease.

For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. – Matthew 24:37-39

So we stay vigilant, we practice penance, but we also keep alive a joy and a hope for the future; even in the case of the final tribulation, we must keep that hope alive, because it is by hoping that we may have a future in heaven.

“For in hope we were saved.” – Romans 8:24

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