As a season in our life as Catholics, Lent faces us with that question. Our spiritual mother the Church reminds us of the limitations of our lives. Diamonds may be forever, but you and I definitely are not.
For us believers the good news of Jesus Christ is that our living and dying are not all there is. There is a new meaning for us in Jesus, in our life in him.
The danger is that we can act as if the surface details are all there is. We can behave as if they make up the whole meaning of our lives. In other words, we can sin. We sin when we behave in a way that denies the meaning of God in our lives and the meaning of our relationship to him in Jesus the Lord.
Thats why St. Paul, on Ash Wednesday, urges us to be reconciled. He challenges us to look at the Cross of Jesus and see what sin can do. But then Paul urges us to take heart in the cross and resurrection of Christ, to see what salvation can do. The saving action of Jesus helps us to die to sin and rise to new life with Jesus.
The season of Lent is for this work of the mystery of Baptism in our lives as Catholics. We are called to conversion, to a turning away from our own special idolatries and a turning toward the true God in Jesus Christ. Thats the meaning and purpose of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, the three traditional Lenten practices of Catholics. These three ways of keeping Lent will take different forms in each of our lives, but they are never for their own sake, as Jesus points out when he warns us not to show off spiritually. We have ashes on our faces on Ash Wednesday to proclaim what we need (humility, truth, hope), and how good God is to give them to us.
We need to simplify. We need to get the focus back on the main point of lifes journey: life in the kingdom of God, now and forever. We need to say no to some of our distractions and indulgences, so that we are freer and more attentive to say yes to God as he meets us in our lives, especially through others.
In all these ways we can use the season of Lent to answer that question, What do you mean? We ask and answer the question as believers. So we ask Jesus, What do you want me to mean, to be, and to do for you?
And we also ask, Jesus, what do you want to mean to me? When we arrive at the end of Lent and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus for love of us, we will be able to embrace his answer, even as his answer embraces us in love.
 Wednesday 6th February, 2008; Ash Wednesday. Day of fast and abstinence. [Ss Paul Miki and companions]. Readings: Joel 2:12-18. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned-Ps 50(51):3-6, 12-14, 17. 2 Corinthians 5:20 – 6:2. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.