So then why do we expect only happy endings in real life? We seem to get upset when our life can't look like something out of a fairy tale, where the prince always comes along, the princess is pulled up out of poverty and misery, and the kingdom is happy and all is well. The fact is that not even the fairy tales are that perfect. There's always a dragon to slay or a poison apple to eat or an enchanted forest to get through. There's always a villain trying to ruin the happy ending.
The same is true in the Lenten season. We can't just automatically end up at the "happily ever after" that comes at Easter without first going through Lent. Lent is the time to slay our dragons and get through our enchanted forests. Even Jesus had to resist the devil in the desert in this past Sunday's Gospel reading. So when the going gets tough and you just want to drink that soda or eat that chocolate, take a deep breath and set your eyes on the finish line.
1 week down, 5 weeks to go.
It's time to really take up our cross and follow Jesus through the struggle that leads to our redemption. There will certainly be villains to thwart and poison apples to resist, but we can be sure that what we're heading to is by far the happiest ending of all: the Resurrection in which we gain eternal life with Christ.