We are approaching the season of Lent. It is a time to center our hearts, to fix our eyes on Jesus, to live out his Word, to match our own actions to his life-giving deeds. Today’s readings engage us in frank talk about what this might look like.

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” The truth is that our world view will have a greater sense of depth if we are seeing with both our eyes, and our physical actions throughout the day will be more balanced and effective if we can do them with two hands. It’s that same balanced view of reality that leads to effective spiritual health and grace-filled leadership in our professional and personal lives.

Today’s first reading from the letter of James points up the self-centered realities of life prevalent in Jesus’ day—realities certainly alive and well in our own experience. As I approach Mardi Gras weekend and the beginning of Lent, what kind of “course correction” to my attitudes and actions does Jesus ask and invite?

—The Jesuit Prayer Team