In his 2017 Lenten message, Pope Francis shared, “Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour… [to] rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need”. As the season of Lent approaches, members will be given over to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The readings for the eighth Sunday of ordinary time prepare Catholics for the journey ahead, “…be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain” (Cor. 15:54-58). The church offers abundant opportunities to renew a connection with God. Pope Francis uses the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to remind us that each person is of God’s creation and therefore to be loved and served the best way possible in this world.
Henry Nouwen offers simple yet inspiring words that can be a mini examination of conscience, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions.”
As members go “into the desert” with Jesus for the next forty days, may they be renewed in the commitment to be the best of what God intended. Move towards Easter through prays for a conversion from sin.
Happy Lenten journey.