Thursday after Ash Wednesday
My dear brothers and sisters we have begun another season of lent in our liturgical calendar. This season calls us to meditate and reflect upon the great mystery of suffering and death of our saviour. We are also called to observe fasting, prayers and almsgiving as the three pillars found in Lenten season. Our hearts need to accompany Jesus to the desert, to pray and fast together with him for the sins of humanity.
We need to choose to follow Jesus by denying ourselves and taking up our crosses. We should not turn back. No matter how heavy and difficult the crosses are, we should not give up. Jesus didn't turn back but he endured to the last step in Calvary.
Moses in the first reading tells the people of Israel to choose between life and death, good and evil. But he reminds them any choice they make has got consequences. They choose to obey God there is reward, they choose evil there is punishment.
Christ himself has shown us the way to follow by his own example. Though he was God, He emptied himself and became a servant to us all. This way of Christ saves us, gives us joy and make us fruitful.
"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
What do we need to deny ourselves?
We need to say "no”: to hatred, hurting others, anger, being pessimistic in life, worries and doubts, complains, unnecessary pressures in life, bitterness, selfishness, grudges, abuses, unfaithfulness, laziness, cheating etc.
There are also many crosses that we carry in our lives. Those crosses come in different forms. For example, sickness, loss of loved ones, persecutions, disabilities, barrenness, lack of job and losing jobs especially with covid 19, gossips, sarcasms, emotional and psychological illnesses, failing and violent marriages, addictions etc. These and many others are some of the crosses that surround us daily. We can't be able to move on without God's sufficient grace.
Hence, my dear brothers and sisters we should not cut short our crosses neither should we put them down or give up. Jesus as our role model persevered and endured to the end. Like Jesus we shall succeed if we put on humility, meekness, gentleness and perseverance.
I wish you a fruitful Lenten season.