May Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd in a myriad of ways … live in your heart and be your model.” (P.G. April 1880)
First Sunday of Lent
February 26, 2023
Lent is a time of preparation for us to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ wanted us all to be one, brothers and sisters all. It is a time to shake off selfishness and awaken a commitment to unity, equality, peace, justice, and care for the poorest.
Since ancient times there have been three common works for Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer, for the good of our soul, Fasting, for the good of the body and Almsgiving, for the good of our neighbour. These works can only be fully lived through conversion, of mentality and habits. The Christian commitment must materialize in the effective renunciation of the deceptions of the world and must reveal itself in personal dedication to Christ. To respond to this call of Lent, everyone is invited to return to a daily intimate dialogue with God, speaking and listening with the heart, experiencing God’s presence and love in solitude and in the work of building up a community of love.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus turned away from the devil and temptation. He is steadfast in moving toward to Jerusalem and the cross. In adopting these Lenten works, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, my we have the courage and fortitude to turn away from anything that tempts or distracts us from following Jesus and the way of the cross.
In his Message for Lent 2023, Pope Francis says, “Lenten penance is a commitment…to overcoming our lack of faith and resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross.” Let us take this time to walk decisively for the things of God. Let’s hold each other’s hands and journey together with Christ, who came that all may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10).
Lesley Amandah Mukonyora, RSHM