Anyone driving around Oakland and the East End these days faces the serious danger of being swallowed up in hundreds of crazy potholes, some large enough to do serious damage to your car and everyone inside the car as well. It is unbelievable that we citizens of the East End neighborhood have the scrouge of driving on such deplorable roads – and most of the major roads are affected – roads that one would expect to find in an undeveloped country but certainly not in what is supposed to be one of the most livable cities in the country. We deserve better from the City of Pittsburgh in maintaining our roads and fixing those potholes that pose a serious risk to all of us. But as I get behind the wheel every day and find myself swerving this way and that way to avoid the danger and to protect my car and my own person from harm, it suddenly dawned on me that this is what the Lenten season is helping us to do in our spiritual journey. The road to God and to eternal life is anything but smooth and easy. There are serious potholes that we must avoid everyday in travelling the pathway of faith in order to attain the holiness of life God desires for each of us as his beloved children. Lent wants to help us become more attentive to those dangers on our spiritual journey so that we can avoid serious harm to our souls. We can lose ourselves so easily in the sinkholes of self-centered living, in pride and self-interest. We can become engulfed and lost in those large empty craters of materialism and self-indulgence that deaden our senses to the life of the Spirit. We all too often fall into the pit of greed, envy, lust, judging others, not being able to forgive, our lack of generosity and kindness instead of walking the path of loving God and neighbor that is the only road to heaven. We can be swallowed up quickly by our daily crosses and sufferings and lose sight of the pathway we must walk in faith. Lent calls us to deeper prayer, to fasting and sacrifice, to works of charity and goodness, so that we can avoid those potholes along the pathway of faith and hold fast to road of life God has invited us to walk. It is God’s grace that enables us to steer the course on the right path. Unfortunately I did some serious damage to my car when I hit a pothole – and my car needed to be repaired and realigned at no small cost. May this Lent be a time of grace and renewal for each of us, giving us the wisdom and strength, to avoid being swallowed up by those potholes in life that seek to pull us out of alignment with God and our faith. Through our Lenten disciplines we will find it easier to hold fast to the road that God calls us to travel each day – the road to eternal life.