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Opinion

2022 Lent and fasting  

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Heralded by Ash Wednesday last March 2, Lent this year will end by April 14, Thursday. Minus Sundays, Lent runs for 40 days, the same number of days spent by Jesus in the desert before he started his ministry of love and redemption.

“From dust thou art, unto dust you shall return.”

While Lent starts with a reminder about our mortal beingness on this earth, Lent points us to Christ’s Resurrection, our redemption/ our reunion with God in heaven, our eternal home.

Many of us have been raised traditionally to treat/experience Lent as a very solemn, even sad time for recollection/reflection about Christ’s passion and crucifixion.

Hence, many of us forget Lent’s most important message of joy and grace for us all: Our salvation through Christ’s Resurrection/triumph over death and evil!

Easter Sunday after Good Friday, Resurrection after the crucifixion!

By obeying God’s will to deny himself and take up his cross, Jesus Christ fulfills his mission of love for God the Father who gave us his only son so we all can be saved.

And so Jesus Christ shared this advice for us as well: “If anyone should come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow, follow Me.”

Many have interpreted denying one’s self through fasting (the reduction of one's intake of food) and abstinence (refraining from something that is good, such as meat).

In 2017, Pope Francis shared the following tips about fasting: 1.) Fast from hurting words and say kind words; 2.) Fast from sadness and be ?lled with gratitude; 3.) Fast from anger and be ?lled with patience; 4.) Fast from pessimism and be ?lled with hope; 5.)Fast from worries and trust in God; 6.) Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity; 7.) Fast from pressures and be prayerful; 8.) Fast from bitterness and fill you heart with joy; 9.) Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others; 10.) Fast from grudges and be reconciled; and, 11.) Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

For 2022, this February 24 message from Pope Francis:

“Lent is an opportune time to cultivate healthy communication and face-to-face encounters. Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity toward our neighbors and of giving joyfully.

“Lent is a favorable time to seek out—and not to avoid—those in need; to reach out—and not to ignore—those who need a sympathetic ear and a good word; to visit—and not to abandon—those who are lonely.

“Let us put into practice our call to do good to all and take time to love the poor and needy, those abandoned and rejected, those discriminated against and marginalized.”

For this year’s Lent, let us be reminded about fasting, from Isaiah 58: 4-9:

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.

“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: To loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? To share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— to clothe the naked and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then the Lord will answer Here I am when you will cry for help.”

ASH WEDNESDAY

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