Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent 2013: Embracing Christ in Our Lives

"The journey may be quite long, but in the process, we reflect on our Christian living, we renew our religious vow and we enjoy a happy beginning of a renewed self  by embracing Christ in our lives forever."

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season among Christians and its denominations throughout the world. This is a very important annual liturgical event to commemorate the journey of sacrifice and penitence of Christ for 40 days where he endured the suffering and temptations towards his destination.

The ash is made of burnt palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday. It is usually mixed with holy water and put on the forehead of the faithful marking a sign of the cross as soon as it has been blessed after the homily, and it will remain until it wears off.

The ash is not an ordinary symbol of the Christian faith. It is a reminder that we came from ash and from there shall we return in accordance with what is written in the book of Genesis. It also reminds us of a spiritual conversion to become re-united with Christ and having Him as the center of our lives.

The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene

The celebration of Ash Wednesday is significant to everyone regardless of religious affiliation and faith. It sends us the message for repentance from our faults; to penitence by sacrificing something for God's glory, and to do fasting as a means for self-sacrifice. It may sound doable, but it would take courage and a deeper understanding of the essence of this religious rite.

Like Christ, followers may have done a sacrifice that is relevant in our time. To fast would mean to give up food by not eating too much resulting in gluttony which is considered a sin in the Christian law. The budget for food on this day may go to someone who needs it the most. I remember in college the teachings of our Professor in Religious education about the corporal works of mercy which include feeding the hungry. It is not just a one-day practice, but any day is the best time to give something to others in need.

In today's homily, we are reminded to give our ultimate sacrifice even for a single day. Some would give up their meal, others would give up vices and some would donate something to the needy. In a deeper perspective, this is significant since we are taught not to be attached to things that would give us harm and trouble later on.

Our little sacrifice would remind us that some people are truly suffering while others are enjoying the luxuries in life. There are so many people left hungry, while some would have wasted their food. This is the time to reflect on our life's purpose as Christian--that everything we have is not permanent.

The beginning of the lent is just the beginning of our sacrifice, tolerance, and survival. This is like the observance of Christ's passion, death and resurrection for 40 days until Easter. The journey may be quite long, but in the process, we reflect on our Christian living, we renew our religious vow and we enjoy a happy beginning of a renewed self by embracing Christ in our lives forever.

© 2013 Del Cusay