Before Lent begins, we hear The Lord say “beware the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees.” What is this leaven they preach and act upon? It is, to be sure, laying heavy burdens of exacting rules upon the people to control them, whereas the scribes and Pharisees themselves do not observe these. Their hearts are far from God in penalizing their people. They know nothing about the love of God and love of neighbor.

So, what will I do this lent to bring God’s gracious love and peace to others? One thing I resolve to do is smile more. Did you ever notice that a smiling person who faces you usually makes you feel better? The smile seems to bring acknowledgement of the other, a sense of peace and a sense of comfort. We readily accept a smiling person into our presence without reservation of any kind.

Another thing I resolve to do this Lent is pray more for other suffering people. For example, when I hear a siren from an ambulance I will utter a quiet prayer for the person in the ambulance. The Lord hears these prayers and assuredly will respond.