Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh
So says the prophet Jeremiah in today's first reading. And yet, which of us does not want to believe in our own strength? On the surface I have never had to worry about depending on my own physical strengh. I have always been constantly aware of being physically weaker than others. At times, it has helped me to turn to God. At other times, it had made me even more determined to be strong in other ways. Or I should say, appear to be stronger. I can look back now and see the many ways I have attempted to over compensate for the physical weakness.
I share that because I think we all share that drive to be independent. Part of it is American culture, part of it is human nature. It was, after all, the original sin.
Today the prophet reminds us that the conversion of the Lenten season is to be a change of our most basic beliefs. Not only are we not to look for strength within ourselves, but we are not to seek it from any human source. To live as people of faith is to to draw all of our strength from a single source, God.
When we no longer look to others to be our source of strength then we are free to simply love them, not for anything they can provide but simply for who they are.
In this season of self-examination, let us look at the ways we depend too much on our own strength, and that of others. And let us turn to the source of all true strwngh at every moment of the day.