Reflection by Aidan Troy, C.P.
It seems that Christmas is barely passed and here we are at the First Sunday of Lent. Maybe it is to do with my age, or are the seasons coming around faster and faster? The beginning of Lent gives me a sense of ‘another chance’ given by God to move forward in loving Him and you more and better.
Lent is a season of grace and will be filled with gifts often not immediately obvious. It will take prayer, fasting and almsgiving to clear away the veil that can be over what God has come to give.
In the First Reading, Moses must contend with a tough task. He has the Chosen People to lead and they were not always the easiest to keep happy and positive. Yet, God was never absent from their midst. Anymore that He is absent from the People of God today.
The beginning of holiness is truth. Moses does not mask the fact that the people were ill-treated while in slavery and exile. It was a tough time and the tears of the people flowed. Today the millions in slavery and displaced shed tears and cry out in their pain. It is awful and there is no instant remedy.
With the truth stated about their plight, Moses recounts how they called out to God to be set free. Then comes an eternal truth – “The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression.” God always hears the cry of the poor. He never closes his ears to our voice when we cry out to him in our need. He then acts with power – “the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.” God is always faithful.
God asks us to join Him in hearing the cry of the poor and to dry the tears of the broken-hearted. The world has many amazing people and organisations who listen out for cries and the sound of weeping. The hands of God are your and my hands. We see with His eyes and listen with His ears. Then, He inspires us to open our hearts and first to love those who are breaking under the weight of their cross. Simon of Cyrene is not only a figure in the Stations of the Cross. We have the same calling to help lighten the burden of the oppressed and to offer hope to the captive.
The season of Lent is truly a time of grace. Part of this year’s Lenten Project at St Joseph’s will reach out to people in Iraq. The Archbishop of Mossoul is encouraging families to return home. But there is little to come back home to. We will help their recovery, renovating their homes and assisting with children’s education. This will be done through l’0euvre d’Orient. If St Joseph’s can make a difference to even a few families this Lent, then this is God’s work.
Great things can be achieved provided we have the determination and the courage not to give up. When Jesus goes through the wilderness with the devil tempting Him, he stands firm in the conviction that God never abandons us. Three times He answers the devil by quoting the Word of God.
When under the trials and temptations of life, it is not always easy to find the right words by which to reply. When we turn to Jesus in these moments of trial, He will give us the words and provide the light to keep shining in our hearts.
May our Lent make a difference to others and to ourselves.