Lent2016: We Give Up to Take Up

Dear Friends, We begin the holy season of Lent. Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter through prayer, penance and works of charity. Today, at the inauguration of Lenten observance, the Word of God invites us to an ever more authentic conversion of heart. God our Saviour is ever merciful, ever responding generously to any human movement of conversion.

The first reading from Prophet Joel (2:12-18) is a pressing invitation to conversion. The Lord invites Israel, invites all of us, invites you and me,  to return to Him with all our heart. Conversion should involve the whole person, and his/ her determining point, the heart, should be at the centre of conversion. Fasting, weeping and mourning are means of expressing sorrow and repentance for our sins by which we turned away from God. But what He wants is not mere external signs but genuine repentance, a real change of heart. If we have gone away from God in any way big or small, we must turn back on our steps and return to Him. This we can do without any fear or rejection because He is gracious and merciful.

The ash we receive on Ash Wednesday is the sign that we intend to clean the mess in our lives in forty days, and get back on track to the reign of God. Today, we are reminded, “There is a little good in the worst of us and a little bad in  the best of us.”

During Lent we look inside of us and find out that we are very much alive to the world and all it contains. We fill our homes, our bank accounts, and our bodies with all the passing things of this world. So during this time we try to turn and go the other way. We pray, we fast, we give our money to the poor.

The mark of the ashes reminds us that we are sinners and sins have drawn us in many directions and they all lead to death. No matter what we gain in this world – money, power, possessions, pleasures, dominance, influence, comfort, security – it all ends sooner or later.

Ashes also remind us of giving up and taking on. “What are you giving up for Lent?” We try to think of things to give up. Will it be candy, desserts, TV, what will it be? That’s what a child asks. As we get older the objects change but the question is similar. What will I give up, we ask ourselves? Will it be cigarettes or  booze?  Whatever it is we decide, giving up something seems to make us feel like we’ve gotten into the spirit of Lent. By giving up bad habits, we are doing something to reform our lives.

Giving up things that aren’t bad or sinful, like candy, can teach us self-discipline, help us learn to handle and control ourselves. Yes, giving up is a start. But for the serious-minded person it can’t end there. There are things we must get into the habit of doing. We must acquire the habit of loving people correctly, of doing things for the benefit of others.

So, as well as the “giving up”, let us “take-up.”  Take up being kinder, less irritable and less critical. Take up being helpful, more positive, a better person. When someone asks: “What did you give up for Lent?”, say with confidence “I gave up myself, and took up others.

And so let us begin Lent by receiving these ashes. The mark imposed on our foreheads may soon disappear, but the spirit of repentance should remain with us till we are totally pure and free from sin. We should walk the Gospel way of life till the end so that we can participate in the glorious resurrection of our Lord.

May Almighty God, slow to anger, rich in mercy and full of love for his people, have mercy on us, may he forgive us our sins and lead us to everlasting life. Amen.

I request all my friends to whisper a prayer for me.

God bless you all.

Easter Sunday: The Lord is Risen, Alleluia

Good Friday belonged to men; they could do what they wanted, and they did their worst – they nailed Jesus to the Cross. But Easter Sunday belonged to God. Men have no part in it, except to watch in awe and amazement at the marvelous things God was doing. Men condemned Jesus to death, but God raised Him to life. Read more

Silent Saturday: When God Seems Silent

It’s been a day since Jesus died. The Holy Bible doesn’t tell us what was it like to go through the silence of Saturday, to be in the unknown, to have doubt, fear of persecution etc. We all have been in that place. To worry about tomorrow. The why question looms in our minds. Why is God silent when bad things happen to good people? Read more

Why is it Good Friday?

On the 6th day of the week, almost 2000 years ago. A man hung among two thieves who became the centerpiece of the Universe. Jesus Christ, God’s Son suffered and died for you and me. He bleed on that hill called Calvary for our sins. Our beloved Saviour gave his life for you and me. But, Why do we called it a Good Friday? Read more

Maundy Thursday: Servant Leadership

“Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:4-5

On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus did one of the most lowest act – He Washed His Disciples Feet!
Feet washing was the job of the lowest of servants. For Jesus who is the supreme leader of all, humbles Himself to serve others. Humility is one of the characteristics which the disciples did not have at that time. Jesus was teaching them Servant Leadership. Read more