March 1, 2014
Thank you for your prayers and support. I am home safe and sound and ready for Lent. Lent starts from Ash Wednesday to Wednesday of the Holy Week. It consists of 40 days (excluding Sundays). This year it is from March 5 to April 16, 2014).
In Lent the Christian community hears God's call for renewal and repentance in a dramatic and insistent way. Modern culture asks us to consider the meaning of our lives in economic, material, technological and political terms. The Christian vision goes beyond these realities challenging us to see the meaning of our lives in relation to the Spirit. In particular, during Lent we are challenged to rename the goals and purposes of our lives. The season acknowledges and gives liturgical expression to our need for continual inner conversion. Even when we have made a decision for Christ we are never fully at one with the Spirit of the Gospel.
The challenge to judge our lives in relation to the Gospel is extremely difficult. There are so many decisions and choices implicit in this and so many distractions which might prevent us from hearing that challenge now. Judging our lives in relation to the Gospel implies acknowledging our sinfulness. Acknowledging our sinfulness is at the same time a call to repentance, and the desire for reconciliation with God and our brothers and sisters. Reconciliation between God and humanity has been won for us in Jesus. Our God is a compassionate God, he looks with mercy on his children, he makes his love and life available to us now. Rearing, understanding and living our lives in relation to this truth provides the impetus for self renewal.
Ash Wednesday begins a spiritual journey in faith and conversion into the fullness of the life through fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Fasting and almsgiving bring about inner transformation. Prayer integrates these actions of penance. Prayer, almsgiving and fasting focus our minds on the spiritual truth that man does not live by bread alone. The sacrament of reconciliation gathers together our actions of repentance into a prayer which is both desire for renewal and the means towards our reconciliation with God. Almsgiving, fasting and prayer bring about the work of renewal in persons making them ready to receive God's gift of salvation now.