It was great to see so many of our people making an extra effort to begin Lent with the symbol of ashes, reminding us all to “turn away from sin and believe in the gospel.” Besides the distribution of the ashes at the different Masses and the Prayer Service, our unique practice of the “Drive-thru” ministry of ashes also attracted a lot of people who, due to their own particular situation, would not have got the ashes and the message in the little card we gave them. I am grateful to the many volunteers and parish staff who made the drive-thru ministry a success. This is a sign of goodwill from the Church to reach out to those who cannot come to church or those alienated from the church for whatever reason.
As I was reflecting on the different ways of living Lent, I was fascinated by this “If-we-were” reflection a friend sent me:
If we were:
knives, Lent would be a time to sharpen our cutting edges.
cars, Lent would be a time for an oil change and a tune-up.
swimming pools, Lent would be a time to filter the dirt out of our water.
gardens, Lent would be a time to fertilize our soil and dig out our weeds.
carpets, Lent would be a time to get power-cleaned.
VCRs, Lent would be a time to clean our heads and adjust our tracking.
computers, Lent would be a time to overhaul our disk drive.
highways, Lent would be a time to repair our cracks and fill our potholes.
TV sets, Lent would be a time to adjust our focus and our fine-tuning.
silverware, Lent would be a time to clean away our tarnish.
batteries, Lent would be a time to be recharged.
seeds, Lent would be a time to germinate and reach for the sun.
But the truth of the matter is that we are none of these things. We are people who sometimes do wrong things, and we need to atone for them. Sometimes we get spiritually lazy – we need to get back into shape; sometimes we become selfish – we need to stretch out of our narrowness and begin giving again; sometimes we lose sight of our purpose on earth and the immense promise within us – we need to regain our vision. And because we are also people who sometimes tend to put those things off, we need a special official time to concentrate on doing them. So we have Lent.
I hope we all have chosen some particular way or ways to spend these 40 days. If not, “Now is the acceptable time,” as St. Paul reminds us (2 Corinthians 6:2). Our small faith-sharing groups have already begun to meet weekly. Anyone is still welcome to drop in and see what it is all about! The Stations of the Cross at 7 pm every Friday of Lent is a devotion worth attending. The reflections are truly relevant and practical. Can we all put that in our Lenten schedule?
I wish us all a happy experience of Lent as we make some Lenten practice these 40 days. Then the Easter candy will taste sweeter, the Easter flowers will bloom more brightly, the Easter Sunday sun will shine more warmly!
Happy and fruitful Lent!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal