With only three days until the beginning of Lent, today's gospel already invites us to shift our focus.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.
This is not a call for us ignore our earthy life or body, but a reminder that they cannot be ends unto themselves. The end, the goal should always the heavenly. What we do with our earthly life our earthly body will determine in large degree our eternal life, in heaven or hell.
So it makes sense that we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday with a day of fasting (required for those age 18-59) and abstaining from meat required for all over 14 years old. Recommended for others.
But before we get to Wednesday now is the time for us to decide how will be live the three penitential practices of Lent: giving alms, prayer, and fasting. What can we do throughout Lent as an acknowledgment of our sin and desire for true conversion of life.
Programs like Operation Rice Bowl are fine but there should also be a very personal component. Where do I waste money? Stop the behavior, save that money, and give it to the poor. A suggestion.
For prayer, perhaps for the days of Lent I will not pray for myself. All of my prayer will be for others, and not just my friends and family. A suggestion.
And as for fasting or giving up something. What can you not imagine doing without? That might be the perfect place to start.
Lent is about being uncomfortable, it is about moving beyond talk and doing penance. Don't choose something impossible but choose prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that will challenge you.