When I was in high school, I had an English teacher by the name of Mrs. Comberiatti.   One day, she came into class wearing a big button on her lapel.  Over 40 years later, I don’t remember much of what she taught us about “The Scarlett Letter” or “A Tale of Two Cities.” But I do remember that button.

It said:

“Please be patient.  God isn’t finished with me yet.”

That is the message of Lent — and one we proclaimed when we walked out of church wearing ashes back in February. “I’m a sinner. Spiritual renovation underway. Stand clear. Beware of falling debris.  I’m a work in progress.” 

This sign on a Manhattan building project near my office makes that message bluntly obvious — and as I pass it every day on my way to work, it speaks to me. I’m reminded that I still have a lot of work to do. We all do. Let’s remember that.

And let’s remember that, especially, about each other. We are all works in progress. Let’s be patient with one another. (I can’t help but notice this particular renovation on a New York street corner was due to be finished last summer. Sometimes, these things take longer and require more patience than we realize.)

Today’s Gospel adds this:

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you…”

Be merciful. Be patient. Stop judging. And look more intently at the work we all need to undertake on ourselves during this sacred season. That’s enough to keep all of us busy.