The term, “ides” is not a common household word and may only be recognized by those who know more than average about world history, particularly of the Roman Empire. It literally means the halfway point of the month and was made famous by the Ides of March in 44 BC on which the Emperor Caesar was warned and subsequently assassinated. We could say, then, that today, the midway point of the month of March, has at least some impending and demanding aspects to it having to deal with the following introspective questions: what have I done with my time in the first half of this gift of time and what do I intend to do with the last part of it? This is especially pertinent as we find ourselves nestled well into the great Season of Lent.
Let us begin by reviewing the Scriptures of today: “If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” Have I truly repented of all evil and malice and selfishness in my life in light of the great call to fasting and penance? “I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.” Have I truly trusted the Lord Jesus with all my heart and soul and thus experienced peace and calm even through heavy decisions and life demands? “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Have I been obedient without grumbling or complaining, especially when it was hard to do so?
Now, in looking forward to the rest of this Lenten month of March, what could be our guiding principle?: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” Perhaps we could make a commitment in the next two weeks to recall on a daily basis the great sacrifice Jesus made for each one of us and how that one single event has to make a difference in the way I act especially with my family and those around me. This deep and meaningful shift within us toward the Messiah can determine the kindness, faithful and hopeful living that needs to be seen in all of us who are Easter people purified, as it were, in these absolutely necessary days of cleansing and renewal.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar, (I, ii, 140-141)