Lenten Message 2020
We enter Lent by celebrating Ash Wednesday. On this occasion, the Holy Father addresses us with this injunction: "We beseech you in the name of Christ, be reconciled to God. "(2 Cor 5:20). In my parish I have proposed the theme of reconversion, reconciliation et come back to me, to guide us in these forty days of penance and prayer. All Christian community leaders will be exhorting the faithful to be merciful, charitable, humble, open, welcoming, etc. to profit from this privileged moment of the year. From the very beginning of this Lenten season, each one of us, according to his or her ability and according to his or her needs, will prepare a project, closely linked to prayer, almsgiving and fasting, to help us to respond positively to the call of holiness (Lev 19. 2 )that the Father desires for us.
Some of you, who are associated to the clarétains in France will certainly know, for us Claretians of Marseilles it is a Jubilee Year, 100 years of Claretian presence in Marseilles. I invite you to enter into this Lenten time with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for the graces that we have received. This time of Lent will be a time of joy and happiness, because we will live intensely with the Lord, admitting that this life is not enough for us to give thanks to Him. During this season, whatever moment we wish to live, may it bring us to the Lord, may it become a privileged moment, a moment totally dedicated to us in our march towards holiness, to our brothers and sisters in charity and to God in our faithfulness.
This time of Lent invites us to evaluate our life, our interiority which is visible only to the Lord. To do this, it is necessary to know how to ask certain questions, in all sincerity, and to seek the true answers, from our own interiority. Where am I now? Am I Mary who listens to the Word of God or Martha who is worried and agitated about many things, that are secondary? (Lk 10:38-45) Am I the prodigal son who says: "I will arise and go to my Father" or the eldest son who refused to participate in the proposed feast? (Lk 15:11-32).
First of all, conversion is an invitation to recognize the love of the beloved Father, a Father who awaits us, to know how to welcome a life given and a life received in Jesus Christ. It awakens us from our drowsy state of life and helps us to recognize our own identity inherited in Jesus Christ, as children of God, a life no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:9-10). The Holy Father reminds us in his Lenten message, and I quote: "Let us therefore, in this favorable time, be led like Israel into the desert (cf. Hos 2:16), so that we may at last hear the voice of our Bridegroom, to make it resound in us with greater depth and availability. » Let us thus, voluntarily enter into this desert life of forty days, fully animated by the Holy Spirit, to live alone with Christ, to be totally configured in Him.
It is through this life in Christ that we are called to be reconciled with God, through our brothers and sisters. It is in reconciliation that we receive grace. That is why Lent is a time of renewal for the Church through the baptized who commit themselves for peace and reconciliation, both personal and communitarian. In this renewal process, Lent becomes a time of grace. (2Cor. 6; 2) Therefore this conversion, which asks us to reconcile ourselves with one another, can no longer be an individual act, but a communal act. God desires to save not only individuals, but an entire people, the beloved of the Father. He desires that we be neither divided nor separated as individuals, but be united as ONE people of God (Jn 17:20-22).
This people will walk as a pilgrim, oriented towards the perfection willed by the Lord. (Ecclesiam Soum 43). In this journey towards the Lord, they will meet God in the hearts of men. This is why Pope Paul VI will tell us that revelation is a dialogue. (Ecclesiam Soum). God continues to reveal Himself and to speak to us. He speaks to us through the suffering of the excluded and isolated, the hungry, the victims, the migrants, etc. (Ecclesiam Soum). The Holy Father Francis in his exhortation 'GAUDETE ET EXCULTATE' asked us this fundamental question, 'can holiness be understood outside of this living recognition of the dignity of every human being?
The Holy Father in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 'QUERIDA AMAZONIA' which has just come out, shares with us his dreams: social, cultural and ecological. Let us broaden his dreams! I invite you to join me in his dreams. May the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God accompany us. The reconciliation and conversion, do call us to participate and engage actively to the accomplishment of this amazonite dream of the Holy Father.
I wish you a good Lent, and a very beautiful preparation for the Lord's Passover.