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Saturday, April 13, 2024

In omnibus, amare et servire

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This Lent must be a time of transformation, where our hearts become firm, merciful, attentive, and generous

In his Lenten message for 2024, Pope Francis extends an invitation to the faithful to embark on a journey of prayerful reflection and compassionate action, emphasizing the transformative power of this sacred season.

Opening with a profound insight, Pope Francis underscores that whenever God reveals Himself, His message resonates with the essence of freedom.

Drawing parallels with the Exodus narrative, he elucidates that our own sojourn through the desert of life can be infused with grace, provided we confront reality with open eyes and ears attuned to the cries of the marginalized.

Central to Francis’ message is a call to combat the pervasive “globalization of indifference” that numbs our senses to the plight of others.

He urges a realization that modern-day equivalents of Pharaoh’s rule continue to ensnare us in weariness and apathy, fostering divisions that imperil our collective future.

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Highlighting the inherent tension of Lent as both a time of action and contemplation, the Pontiff stresses the importance of pausing amidst the rush of life—pausing for prayer and pausing to extend a helping hand to those in need. In this dual commitment to God and neighbor, he asserts, lies the essence of true freedom and love.

Moreover, Francis speaks to the struggle inherent in the Lenten journey—a struggle against the allure of idols and a longing for the familiar comforts of slavery.

Yet, he assures, this desert terrain can serve as a crucible for personal transformation, wherein newfound criteria of justice and communal solidarity emerge.

In this narrative of Lent as a time of conversion and freedom, Pope Francis beckons believers to tread boldly, hand in hand with hope, towards a horizon imbued with promise and potential.

Entering the period of the Paschal Triduum, we call to mind the Lenten message of hope of Francis, and anticipate the joy of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

This Holy Thursday, the Chrism Mass will be celebrated, during which the local bishop consecrates the holy oils that will be used throughout the year for sacraments such as baptism, confirmation, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, traditionally held after sundown, commemorates the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist and recalls the last supper of Jesus Christ.

It was during this last supper that Christ, after being betrayed, offered his body and blood to God the Father in the form of bread and wine.

The image of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is a powerful symbol of selfless love and service. It reflects the essence of Jesus’ mission, which was to demonstrate God’s love for humanity through acts of compassion and humility.

In washing the feet of his

disciples, Jesus was demonstrating a radical form of service and leadership.

In his culture, it was the job of the lowest servant to wash the feet of guests who entered a home. But Jesus, who was their teacher and leader, took on this menial task as an act of love and service.

The humble gesture of Christ also speaks of our own mission as Christians.

We are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to serve others with the same self-emptying love that he demonstrated. In doing so, we help to make those we serve more whole and we also rediscover our own brokenness and God’s healing touch.

Jesus showed us the real meaning of service and humility.

He demonstrated his love for others by serving them and washing their feet, and making the ultimate sacrifice by willingly dying on the cross for the sins of humanity.

True Christians strive to follow his example by serving others and putting their needs above their own. To be converted means “In omnibus amare et servire”, in all things to love and serve the Lord, as St. Ignatius taught us and popularized in a song by Fr. Manuel V. Francisco SJ.

As Francis exhorts the faithful: This Lent must be a time of transformation, where our hearts become firm, merciful, attentive, and generous – a time when indifference gives way to compassion and love for one another.

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