As one of the major highlights of our Christian faith, the Lenten Season gives us the opportunity to reflect on the prophet Hosea in the Old Testament who called out: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is He who has torn, and He will us.” Lent, as we know in the Christian world, is a day forty- journey to Christ’s triumph over death.
Forty, in biblical view, even means transformation and liberation through the mercy of God. These can be attained through fasting, praying and almsgiving,” Juan Karlo Serviento wrote (CBCP Monitor, February 19-March 4, 2018, Vol. 22, No. 4).
The homily delivered by Pope Francis at the Holy Mass, Blessing and Imposition of the Ashes, at Basilica of Santa Sabina, Ash Wedneday, on February 14, 2018 touched on very highly contemplative, timely imperative concerns we Christians need to ponder today and thereafter.
“The season of Lent is a favourable time to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life and to receive the ever new, joyful and hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover. The Church in her maternal wisdom invites us to pay special attention to anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart.
“Lent, is the ideal time to unmask distrust, pain and uncertainty and other temptations, to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant of Jesus. The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pause, see and return,”he said.
“Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the souls with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere. Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents and time as a gift…time with God. Pause for a little, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the “noticeboard” that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection. Pause in order to look and contemplate.
“See the gestures that prevent the extinguishing of charity, that keep the flame of faith and hope alive. Look at the faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst. See the face of our families who continue striving, day-by-day, with great effort, in order to move forward in life, and who despite concerns and much hardship, are committed to making their homes a school of love. See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception.
“Return to the house of your Father. Return without fear to those outstretched, eager arms of your Father who is rich in mercy (cf. Eph 2:4), who awaits you. Return without fear, for this is the favourable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father (cf. Jn 20:17). It is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched…
“Return without fear, to join in the celebration of those who are forgiven. Return without fear, to experience the healing and reconciling tenderness of God.”
Yes! Christian brethren. The world would be a better, peaceful and safe to live on if we heed Pope Francis’ three-word exhortation—pause, see and return—. That is, before, during and after the Lenten Season—365 days, right!
Like the Seven Last Words Jesus uttered while on the Cross to redeem us from our sins, we hope and pray, that these three- word homily expounded by the Supreme Pontiff be forever embedded in our hearts and minds as we contend with our myriad problems in this hard and trying times.
Surely, it would be a tall order to follow. However, nothing is impossible with God. The song Footprints on the Sand is worth listening too. Hence, through faith like the size of a mustard seed, we must put everything to God even as we profess love and do good works to our fellowmen.