Lent: A Privileged Time
This time that we have begun together is, in the words of Pope Francis, “a ‘strong’ time of conversion” and a time “to live our baptism with greater profundity.”
We are all baptized, and every time we are present in the church, when we baptize children, we renew our baptismal promises: Faith in God and Renunciation of evil. These two elements are joined together: believing in God and making God present in the world, we witness to our rejection of evil.
We are not like other people; we do believe in God and by this faith we are different, and we share a gift that is unique to those who believe. The question for us this Lent is this: are we really that different? Are we different from people who do not have faith? Are you and I different from those who have not rejected evil as we did at our baptism?
There is no faith without compassion. But if we see that we as believers have become indifferent or immune to the suffering or the needs of others, it is because we do not allow our faith to enlighten our way. Faith is what makes us see the world in a different way, helping us to understand the priorities of life, helping us to see things that others are not able to see.
In the Pope’s Lenten message, you may have noticed the repetition of “poor” and “poverty.” The message is a deep one, for it calls us not only to be compassionate to those in material poverty, but it also points to the spiritual poverty of a world that believes it can live without God. For each of those experiences of poverty, we can become the hand extended to those who suffer.
When we “believe” with a faith that goes beyond words, God is present with those who suffer any kind of injustice and, by doing that, we make God present among us, giving hope to others.
The season of Lent is indeed a privileged time for us: we make it special by renewing our baptismal promises and living them in our lives as Christians. We can make God present among us through our Faith and reject evil in all its manifestations. Then, in Christ, we will truly be, because of our baptism, the light that takes away all darkness.