Hey there! How is everybody? As I write this, I’m still sitting in a hotel in Ohio, waiting for my house to be finished so I can move in. Sadie is a very, very spoiled puppy at this point. The staff and most of the other guests here love her, and everybody is feeding her. It’s gonna be a big adjustment for her to go back to ‘just dog food’. It’s cold here, so y’all grab a cuppa and find a warm comfy spot while I ramble. I know the superbowl was awhile ago, but there is a lot of good to be had in reflection on some things.
A lot of people only care about the ads. I went to a superbowl party with a bunch of ladies, and the chatter stopped for the commercials. Hilarious! My favorites used to be the Budweiser ads. Those beautiful Clydesdales and that adorable puppy were simply irresistible!
About a week before this year’s game, I was watching last year’s commercial where the puppy gets lost, after hopping into a horse trailer as it leaves his farm. Before he gets home, he’s been ‘homeless’ and caught in the rain, and finally encounters a hungry wolf. Just in time, the little pup is saved by the fearsome foursome of Clydesdales who break out of their barn, run off the wolf and then escort the muddy puppy back home. The next scene is an overjoyed owner, giving the pup a warm sudsy bath, and drying him in a warm soft towel while the grateful puppy gives him kisses. Then they go out to the barn so the pup and ‘his’ horse can spend time together. You can see the commercial here.
I thought how often we are like the little pup who goes astray and gets lost, and how at our first whimper, Jesus comes to rescue us. How often do we wander off into ‘enemy’ territory of self-will and sin, only to find out that it’s not at all what we thought it would be. The consequences can have very real fangs, like the hungry wolf, just waiting to devour us. But as soon as we turn back toward home and whisper a prayer for help in our distress, Jesus shows up to deliver us, takes us home, get us cleaned up and back where we belong. It’s not a perfect analogy, but if the Clydesdales represent Jesus here, then the dog’s human owner might represent the Church. So happy to see us return, gently and lovingly helping us get rid of the mud and dirt we picked up, (if you’re Catholic, through the Sacraments) and then loving us back to spiritual health and joy, renewing our fellowship with both the Church and with Jesus.
Did you notice how much the owner and the horse missed the dog? Did you notice how overjoyed the owner was to see him come home, and how gently and lovingly he bathed and dried him? The love of Jesus is more gentle, more powerful and more pure than any love between the animals and people in this commercial. The background music speaks of walking 500 miles. Jesus literally came from heaven to earth, and then gave up His life on the cross. He did this for love, so He could clean us up and then be with us. He isn’t angry, He loves us and is longing for us to come home!
What does any of this have to do with Lent? Lent is a time to let Jesus clean us up a bit, bring us in from the rain anyplace we may have wandered off, and put us back into full fellowship and communion with Himself, the Church and those around us. It’s a time to own up to our mistakes and bad habits, and let Him love us out of them. It’s a time to reconnect with Him and His church. It’s a time for gratitude and worship. It’s a time of preparation for joyfully celebrating His resurrection at Easter!
Where are you in life right now? Are you safe and secure in the house of the Lord, connected to Him and the rest of His church? Or are you out on the highway, or caught in the rain, or is your lifestyle taking you places you don’t want to go? Can you face it honestly? Do you need some help to get back to where you want to be?
Find a pastor or a priest. Tell them what’s going on. Pour out your heart in honest prayer to Jesus. A pastor or priest can help you get solidly connected with Jesus, and firmly planted with others in the church. With that security, you can rejoice wholeheartedly in His resurrection at Easter!