As the Lenten season begins, we are, once more, being asked to think deeply about the agony of Christ. We are to reflect on Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, leading to his resurrection and our salvation.
Lent is a time of spiritual renewal. It is a special period in the church’s calendar, marking the beginning of Christ’s public ministry. The symbolic ’40 days’ fast recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, praying and communing with God, his Father.
It is worthwhile to note that Christ experienced an uncommon spiritual renewal after the exercise to the effect that, although, undeniably physically weak and hungry after the lengthy fast, he received inner strength to rebuff his enemy and overcome the three major temptations launched at him by the devil, as captured in the gospel stories.
We are likewise expected to renew ourselves spiritually and draw closer to God always but especially during this Lenten season. The challenge to every Christian during this season is to become Godlike. Identify with the passion of Christ and abstain, not only from food and drink but from all forms of evil that has wrecked havoc on humanity, especially our country Nigeria.
Pope Francis urges us to leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption and turn to Christ, standing beside our brothers and sisters in need and sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, we concretely welcome Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives and radiate its transforming power to all of creation.
His Grace, Archbishop Anthony J.V Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri, observed in a press release that the state elections would be taking place during the Holy Season of Lent. He urged everyone, including politicians, INEC, security operatives and Government to have a fresh resolution and commitment to ensure free, fair and credible elections. He asked all to participate in a three day pre-election prayer and fasting, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending Friday, 8th March
During lent, we are expected to fast, pray, and give alms to the poor and needy. The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday with the imposition of ashes, which reminds us of our mortality and ends on Holy Thursday, giving way to the Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter.
Lent invites us primarily to repent and humble ourselves before God, the owner of life. In fasting and prayer, we mortify the body and ask for the forgiveness of our sins. In abstinence, we deny ourselves of certain pleasures which again enables us to focus less on the body and more on spirit. Sacrificial almsgiving enables us to share ourselves and our ‘bounty’ with the less privileged thereby identifying with Christ who gave his life for the sins of humanity.
Our society is riddled with hunger, poverty and disease. Let the love of the suffering Christ compel you to reach out, in a special way, to your neighbours, community and church in the spirit of Lent.