“So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. And they told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ He was stunned; he could not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Israel said, ‘Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.’” Genesis 45:25-28
Jacob was giving out. He was an old man with wives and children. He had flocks and holdings. He had done what he needed to do. Then he hears about his son Joseph being alive. And his life suddenly takes a new turn. We are told that he revives.
It is easy for us to simply go into a coast mode. We have what we need, we go long, we plod from day to day. We pay the bills, we go to the doctor, we go through the motions. Our spirits flag. Our passions ebb. It may be gradual, so much so that it goes unnoticed. We may be disengaging and loosing interest and not even really be aware.
Joseph gets word of the son he thought was dead, and suddenly he once again has a passion for life. Pope Francis suggested that people give up apathy for Lent. This is a time to ask ourselves if we are apathetic. If we have lost interest in things. Do we need to be revived? Do we need to regain our passion? What is the condition of our spirits?
If we notice some ebbing of spirit, there are things we can do to engage. We do not just have to sit around and wait for something amazing to happen in our lives. We can dip our toe in the water. Try getting involved in something you care about. Try investing yourself more deeply in a relationship. Try a new hobby or a new subject or activity. Or pick up something you have not done for a long time. Spend some time in nature. Volunteer somewhere. Write a letter about an issue that you care about. Eventually you will find something that revives you. That excites you. That impassions you.
Jesus went to the wilderness to discern his mission and his passion. In this Lenten season, may we consider our passion. May we see more clearly how we are being called to be engaged in the enterprise of faith. Amen.