10 This Joyful Season of Lent - Fr Aniceto Nazareth

posted Feb 16, 2018, 12:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 16, 2018, 12:50 AM ]
This title is not of my own making. Contrary to our expectations, it is exactly what the Liturgy itself calls Lent – a Joyful Season. Naturally! Since Lent is a time of Reconciliation with God and with each other, it is bound to have its share of happy moments. St Augustine reminds us, "Our hearts were made for you. They'll never find rest until they rest in you." And there is a hymn which says, "Happy the heart that lives in the heart of God, the heart of love."

Moreover, Lent is a home-coming, our "journey" with Jesus from death to new life, when with renewed mind and heart, we can approach God, our Father with reverence and join our community with willing service! A liturgical word for this "passage" is a "Passover". Bookworms however, like to use a difficult expression, which few understand, coined as it is from Hebrew and Greek roots: the "Paschal Mystery". I prefer to sing a happy song about this "transition" we make during Lent. "I've wandered far away from God; now I'm coming home." Unthinking people unfortunately use this song at funerals, so that while others are [at last!] speaking well about the deceased, the song leader believes that she or he "wasted many precious years."

Lent is also a season of grace that renews us in spirit, purifies our hearts, and control our desires. During Lent, we learn to live in this passing world with our hearts set on eternity. All this happens as we recall the great events that bring us to a new life in Jesus. In Lent, we hear the cry of Jesus: "Come back to me with all your heart. Don't let fear keep us apart. The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak: 'Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.'"

Yes, in Lent, it is God who spurs us on to possess a more abundant life, and being rich in mercy, He constantly offers pardon and invites us sinners to trust in His forgiveness. By the working of the Holy Spirit, He changes our hearts and makes them ever new, so that hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord turns into mutual respect. Though time and again, we have broken His covenant, He has never turned away from us, but has bound the human family to Himself with a new bond of love. We would do well in responding to Him: "Love lifted me."