The Lenten season provides for us a reminder that we are all connected in the ongoing work of more fully experiencing the Kingdom of God here on earth. A reminder that, in the midst of our suffering, we stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and subsequent victory over death points us towards a hope more powerful than the darkness and suffering we see in the world. Our understanding of this tension between darkness and hope, suffering and victory unites us in a collective move towards action. If the words of Brother Cornel West ring true that, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” then the deep connection between our mortality and God’s suffering is the call to justice. The wonderful gift of Lent is the reminder that we are not alone. We are not alone in our suffering (often at the hands of oppressive forces and systems), and we are not alone in the work of fighting against and dismantling those systems.
The time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday can be an invitation for us to move through lament and reflection into solidarity and action. The good news of the gospel is that the story does not end with humanity’s oppression and marginalization, but with our liberation. It is my prayer and deepest hope that this Lenten season further moves us, in solidarity, towards the flourishing and justice-filled world the gospel makes possible.
Pedro Valentin is a Chicago native who currently resides in Greenville, Illinois with his wife and 2 daughters. He completed his bachelor's degree in Sociology and Social Work at Greenville University. Moving back to his home neighborhood of Humboldt Park in Chicago, he pursued an MSW at the University of Illinois-Chicago and was a program director for a non-profit child services agency. Following a vocational call to mentor and develop young adults, he and his wife moved back to Greenville where, for the past 21 years, he has served in various roles at his alma mater, Greenville University. Most recently he has served in the roles of Dean Of Diversity and Inclusion and Director of Diversity Initiatives.