by Jeannine Gramick, SL

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15 | 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 | Luke 13:1-9

SandalsAs I jogged one morning around the retreat house where I had come to ponder future choices, I looked down at my sneakers. They were just the right shoes for this exercise–not too tight, not too loose.

The sneakers became a metaphor for the alternatives before me. There were many options I could walk into. Some were like shoes that were too tight; others, like sandals that were too loose. I could certainly walk in shoes that would cramp my feet or ones that felt unfastened or untied, but they would eventually ruin my feet. I needed to find the proper fit that would be comfortable and contribute to my well-being.

That’s what God’s will is like–shoes that fit just right! Maybe that is why Moses had to remove his shoes when Yahweh spoke to him on Mt. Sinai. Maybe his shoes were too tight or too loose. The proper fit was to be in right relationship with Yahweh, to follow God’s will. The suitable fit for Moses was to tell the Israelites that I AM had sent him and that I AM would rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey.

In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us that the right fit for our continuing relationship with God is to put on the shoes of reform, the sandals of conversion. “But I tell you, you will all come to the same end unless you begin to reform.”

Reform or conversion is always scary. It means walking, or even running, from safe, familiar ground to an unknown terrain. Sometimes reform or conversion involves tripping or walking forward, then backward, then forward again. It moves us from the security of knowing the pattern of repeated actions to the ambiguity of being unable to predict the outcome.

Putting on the shoes of change involves risk. It means asking new questions and searching for new answers. Putting on the shoes of change requires us to trust that our loving God cares enough that all will turn out well.

REFLECTION: What shoes of reform or conversion is God calling you to put on this Lent?

This reflection was written by Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL, author and co-founder of New Ways Ministry. It is taken from Embracing Conversion: Reflections for Lent 2001, published by Pax Christi USA.

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