Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings on this Lenten season 2017.
Each year the Church invites us to meditate on the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ with the attitude proposed by Psalm 51:17, to meditate “with a broken and contrite heart, which God will not despise”.
Lent is also a time of experiencing the exodus through the desert, as it was experienced by the people of Israel and by Jesus himself. The desert is the place of trial, but we often forget that it is also the place of encounter with God, In the solitude, the silence, and the renunciation the false human securities in which many times we find ourselves immersed, Lent allows us to see the desert as the place of that great encounter and as an opportunity for faith. Lent makes us come out of ourselves in order to see God face-to-face and to see ourselves also, discovering what does and doesn’t help us achieve the goal we wish to reach, the eternal day of glory and happiness.
Lent is the time to seek refuge anew under the shadow of the cross of the Lord planted at Calvary, which reveals to us the horizon of His victory over evil and death. This is our goal, not only during Lent but through all of our lives. The Church invites us to cast off the old garments we wear and to clothe ourselves with the new robes of Easter.
Lent invites us to make God the center of our lives. The center of our lives marks what we are, what we think, what we feel and what we do. Above all, it reveals what we love. Lent is time to experience the great love God had for us when He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, to give His life as a ransom for ours. We must be aware that life progressively disorients us and as a result, without realizing it, we often displace God by putting ourselves or other things in His place.
Only those who trust in His love, only those who recognize Him as Father and recognize themselves as children, although many times as prodigal children, can turn to God. In turning to God, we are given the opportunity to feel His embrace, to share His joy, and to experience the mercy that makes us new men and women.
In this way, Lent becomes a time of preparation and renewal of our Baptism, which we celebrate on the night of the Easter Vigil or on Easter Sunday.
My dear brothers and sisters, as you know, the main theme for the Diocese this year is “commitment.” Lent is the ideal time for committing ourselves to the inner renewal of our lives, to the evangelization that attracts new brothers and sisters to participate in the mission of the kingdom, to honestly evaluate the life and mission of each of our congregations, and to asking ourselves with sincerity whether we are doing our part in the mission entrusted to us by our Diocese.
Lent is always celebrated at the beginning of spring because spring is a new beginning. A time to sprout and flower, a time of energy and vitality, a time of growth, a time for producing new fruit, a time of expectation, a time of new hopes, and a time for leaving behind the cold that holds us captive. How might this Lent make each of us new in Christ?
In Christ Jesus,
Bp J. Alberto Morales, OSB