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Meaningful Lent

He got up and silenced the wind and the sea and they became calm. He turned water into wine and we had sufficient wine to drink. I was wonderstruck seeing all this. He healed the sick, he cursed the fig tree and it dried up immediately. He created a bigger miracle than this and made me his disciple. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. He was hungry but did not do any miracles to satisfy his hunger. This surprised me even more. The temptations did not break him. He used it as an opportunity to show his faith to God.

These are the words of Late K.P Appan, a writer and non-Christian but a follower of Christ. To understand the meaning of the name Christ, I joined my heart with His and meditated. St Paul says that the only aim in his life was to know Christ. He goes on to say that everything else has no meaning once you know Christ. St Paul ran the race with the only aim to be part of Christ’s suffering, death and the power of resurrection. When we are able to discern this the Lenten season turns into blessing.

To know Christ

The season of Lent gives us an opportunity to know, understand and experience Christ. He walked the path of salvation and God paved the way to save the people through Jesus. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4: 12). The God in heaven is a God who walks with the people on earth and shares their joys and sorrows, not a God who rests in heaven. He is not a God made of clay but one who hears the cry of the poor. The one who comes to earth to save mankind (Exodus 3:7).

Season of Lent is an opportunity to be part of the salvation and to live like Jesus. The birth, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus is not just to be commemorated but something to be fulfilled and lived through Church till the end of times. Every Christian should be able to live it in their lives.

God does what is impossible to man through Jesus. To save mankind from sins, he who was blameless bore the sins of this mankind and died on the cross. He ensured that sin had no power over man and filled them with the Spirit. So man will not live as per the demands of his physical body. The man received the power to say no to sin and focus on a life of spirituality. The Spirit gives us the strength to proclaim Jesus as our savior and God.

He Crucified Hatred

We were away from God because of our sins and hatred and through Jesus he brought us back to God. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). God is taking the first step for reconciliation. We were once apart from God and today He has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus. Through his death on the Cross Jesus has made us a new human being and through this he reconciles the mankind with God.

God loves and cares for us as his own son. We are called to be the followers of Christ. Love is the sign of all followers. We should let the love burn in our heart unabatingly. Jesus lived in this world for 33 years and through spreading his love he overcame the barrier of hatred and sin. The one who betrayed him and the one who cast him away were called friends. He did not hate the ones who slapped him and spat on his face. How can we be a witness for this kind of love? Only love can change man. Let us give back good for evil, love for hatred and peace for enmity and spread the love. Jesus expects this from us and through our actions let us become the disciple of Jesus and children of God.

When We Do Good Deeds

What does is the expectation of God during Lent? This expectation should reflect in our attitude and relationships. When the people of Israel were in the desert they were saddened by the fact that they were wandering with no place to call on their own. They were fasting and praying but God did not hear them. They were fighting amongst themselves. They ill-treated their slaves.

The religious customs has lost its true meaning and has become symbolic in nature. Though they practice these customs they were not close to God. When we live in harmony and peace, spreading the joy and love of God then God will be with us. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness a will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I” (Isaiah 58:8-9).

Fr Boniface Manayathumari CST




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