“You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Some people – Catholics included – see the things that we Catholics do as external, and superfluous. And indeed, when we do these things in perfunctory, rote kind of ways, then we are definitely missing the boat. But all of these things can be manifestations of our desire to love God more. In Lent, we fast, give alms and pray. Our fasting can be our desire to rely more on God’s care for us. Our almsgiving can be our desire to be one with God who is close to the poor. Our prayer can be a manifestation of our hunger for God. When we do these things with love for God, they aren’t mere externals; they are part of our living faith. And when they are done with that kind of love, we are truly not far from the kingdom of God.