This year, Lent comes at a time where we as Christians can reflect and resolve all that is before us. There is much going on in the community around us and around the world, and many of these things can cause anxiety and stresses that challenge us in our everyday lives.
The last two Lenten seasons have likely been the most intense and long-lasting Lent seasons that any of us have experienced. It was during Lent 2020-21 that the seriousness of the coronavirus became clearer leading to closed borders, cessation of Masses and stay at home orders. While in Australia, at the moment, we are doing so much better than most of the world, we need to remember all those in Australia and around the world who are still living a “Lent” induced by the coronavirus which does not seem to be abating. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world, we need to remember those who even before coronavirus, were trapped in a never-ending “Lent” whether it was due to poverty, war, living in uncertainty while being detained for seeking protection or those caught in modern slavery. We stand in solidarity for the people of Ukraine and during this time of Lent we pray for the innocent people there who are suffering each day with loss and displacement due to horrific war crimes. As the world unites as one in the face of this and stands with the people of Ukraine, we must remember that prayer and reflection can make a difference.
Doing good “with love, justice and solidarity are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realised each day” and require patience, prayer and hope. “Pope Francis”
During this season of Lent, Pope Francis calls 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.” Fasting, prayer and almsgiving, the three disciplines the Church asks us to partake of every Lent are effective forms of charity which enable us to have “concern and loving care for the poor”. I draw on these words at this time to give back to the community and to help others in need. By actioning your faith during the Lenten season, you will find comfort in the fact you are opening your heart to put the needs of others first and this to me, is what embodies the Lenten season itself.
Mr Sam Johnstone
Director of Mission & Faith