El Mensajero (English)

Posted: March 13, 2019

Word of God helps us live deeply during Lent

By Jorge Salgado

We begin this intense time of Lent. What message does the Word of God want to transmit to us in order to live deeply this time of salvation?
In the first week of Lent, the temptations of Jesus are presented to us for our reflection. In the world today we are constantly tempted; the media, friends and family tell us directly or indirectly that happiness is in power, money, pleasure, fame. They drag us toward material things, and they take us away from our center, which is God. Do the material things make us really happy? For us and for Jesus it is clear: “Man does not live by bread alone”; “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and Him alone shall you serve”; “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
The second week, when talking about the transfiguration of the Lord, we are told to whom we really need to listen to achieve a full life: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him,” the Father tells us. The law and the prophets, the full will of God is in Jesus. We have to listen to him, welcome him, follow him and live as he lived. In this way, we will bear fruit, as we are asked in the third week of Lent, by means of the parable of the fig tree; otherwise, our life is cut off, it has no meaning and depth. The Lord wants us to bear fruit, to be consistent with our faith, not to be Christians in name only, but that we become deeply involved in a path of committed following with the Lord.
In the fourth week, we are invited to reflect on the unconditional love of God through the parable of the prodigal son or, rather, of the merciful father. Jesus tells us that God is a good Father, that what moves him in his performance is mercy, compassion; that what he wants from us is that we are happy, that we lead a full life. He is not worried about the sins we have committed, but worries because we are losing our lives, because we are dead in life and what He wants is for us to be alive and happy. That is why, when the son returns home, instead of reproaching him, his father throws a party; and when the eldest son, who acts not by compassion but by the law, reproaches his behavior, the good father responds: “It was necessary to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come back to life, was lost and we have found him.” Such is the heart of our God, and that is why we are not afraid to return home, to meet God again, for He awaits us with open arms.
We see that same compassion in Jesus, in the fifth week of Lent, in the story of the adulterous woman. God does not come to our lives to condemn us, judge us, but rather to get us up, heal us and help us get on track: “Go and do not sin again.” This is the same God, who we see on Palm Sunday, humble, entering Jerusalem, to give his life, for our salvation.
Salgado is a migrant minister for the Diocese of Rochester.