Lent is a time when all Christians prepare to celebrate the greatest feast of the Church: Easter. During this time each one of us enters slowly, through fasting, penance, and charity to live with faith and enthusiasm the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that precisely is what the Sunday readings are showing us during this time. The Gospel of Luke (Lk. 9, 28b-36), for example, tells us how Jesus shows his disciples (not only to Peter, James, and John bust also to us today) a foretaste of His glory and majesty to be lived after His triumphant resurrection. Peter, in the same Gospel, spoke and told the Lord that it would be good to stay there with Him. Each time we go to the Eucharist we are witnesses of the death and resurrection of the Lord. We are witnesses of that glory that fills us with peace and encourages us to say: Lord, how good it is to be here. How many times have we said this to the Lord? This is the first question that Lent poses to us. Have we felt happy celebrating the Eucharist? Or, do we just come because it is Sunday and we have to go? Let us review how we are celebrating this beautiful encounter with Christ.
A few chapters later St. Luke (Lk. 13, 1-9) talks about the fruits we are giving ourselves. Definitely the Lord does not want us to continue sinning, and instead of punishing us He gives us all His love. This year the Church is celebrating the "Jubilee of Mercy." The Holy Father is precisely reminding us that God is merciful and is always ready to forgive us, just as the Gospel tells us in the parable of the Merciful Father better known as the parable of the prodigal son. God wants us to really turn to Him. He wants us to turn from our evil way and live (Ez. 18, 23). God is always willing to receive us with open arms because He loves us regardless of our situation and what we have done. He does not love us for what we are but in spite of what we are. Then, are you willing to ask for forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation? Let us remember that the priest acts in persona Christi, that is, that everything that the priest does is not in his own name but it is Jesus Christ himself acting through him. What are we waiting for to go to his encounter and ask forgiveness for the things we have done and have offended him? And once we have gone to confession, we should remember the words that the Lord said to the adulteress: "Go, and from now on do not sin anymore" (Jn. 8, 11). Lent should lead us precisely to that close encounter, living and personal, with the Lord who is always willing to forgive us regardless of what we have done because He is the living image of the Merciful Father. May we get ever closer to God during this Lent in order to go out in the world and be true witnesses of the Risen Lord who redeems us from our sins.
Deacon Ramirez Velasquez is a seminarian for the Diocese of Rochester.