The Word that we have heard today during Mass, at the start of Lent, tells us with strength to go back to Jesus; every year , forty days before Easter, the time of Lent starts: it’s a time when we can return to Jesus and deepen our relationship with Him. Year after year man walks growing up in faith and becoming more and more friend of the Resurrected and Crucified Jesus. The Church ,our
Mother and Master, provides us with the tools to live this moment well. In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of prayer, fast , alms. We know well that prayer requests an effort from us, repeating words is not enough, that would be the so called “wordy prayer”. You must learn to pray and commit yourselves in prayer, with all of your heart and of yourselves because in that very moment we meet God.
This time is given to us to think about this, to insist a bit more on ourselves and to commit ourselves in prayer. Father Gasparino used to say: “You’ll learn to pray while praying” and it is true that ,as time goes by, our prayer gets more meaningful and we get trained to pray better. This is the “right time” to look inside ourselves, to pray for ourselves, for our weaknesses, committing ourselves in our conversion as much as possible ;then we will be able to pray well for the others too. Let’s ask Our Lord for this gift: to see the needs and wants of the others in faith ,to commit them to the Holy Lady ,to Jesus and to the Saints.
Fast: the Church has always requested this from us and I consider it a prophetic gesture in particular in these times full of blows-out , not only in food; fast shows us that everything passes and that we can renounce to anything if we really wish “to go back to God with all our heart” ,if we do not want to miss what is vital to us. Fast protects us from temptations, makes our will stronger, cleans us. Fast does not only mean to give up food ,but also to quit with superficial speeches, with the entertainments that do not do us good.
When we fast we are more able to give alms that is to say to donate ourselves to the others.
Repentance: it means to make up, to think about our mistakes. Through confession we get rid of our sins and we are forgiven thanks to God’ Mercy but only if we truly repent . Repentance is a medicine for our wounds , a healing balm for the consequences of our sins and also for those of the others. The bad things I did yesterday, today will be recompensed by doing good, this is the true repentance.
Repentance must not necessarily mean to renounce to something, it can also be a charity gesture to someone ,a prayer for a friend or for something good.
So these are the instruments that Jesus leaves us through the Liturgy : prayer, the Scriptures, fast, repentance, the gift of ourselves.
Let’s commit ourselves to live these intentions well, with all our heart, so that we can come back ,deeply and truly come back, to the communion with God.