2016 02 08 15.07.28“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem” (Mt 20:18)

Lent: a Time for Renewing Faith, Hope and Love

(Pope Francis’ Lenten message for 2021)

The readings of this Sunday remind us of the covenant God made with Noah after the flood: the sign of the rainbow. (cf. Gen 9.8-15) In the second reading, Peter recalls the covenant we made at our baptism. (cf. 1 Peter 3.18-22). The Gospel tells us of how Jesus after his baptism was led by the Spirit to the wilderness in order to accomplish the final covenant between God and humanity – the promise of life eternal. (cf. Mark 1.12-15). 

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We are on a 40 day journey leading to the Resurrection at Easter. The virtues of faith, hope and charity help us along the way. In practical terms, this translates into prayer, fasting and charity.

In his Lenten message, Pope Francis urges us to “renew our faith, draw from the “living water” of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.

The traditional Lenten observances of “Fasting, prayer and almsgiving, as preached by Jesus (cf. Mt 6:1-18), enable and express our conversion. The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope and effective charity.”

Pope Francis reminds us that: “Fasting involves being freed from all that weighs us down – like consumerism or an excess of information, whether true or false – in order to open the doors of our hearts to the One who comes to us, poor in all things, yet “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14): the Son of God our Savior.”

As we focus on how fasting can help us on this Lenten/Covenant journey toward Easter, may our relationship with God become stronger.

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