We are now in the season of Lent. It is the time not for us to just do penance. The Church doesn’t want to
punish us…Lent is not a time for punishment…Lent is not the time to know when you have done wrong-
that’s not the purpose of Lent. Lent is the time, actually, for us to reflect on God’s love for us. Why?
Because at the end of Lent, we will celebrate the great feast of Easter, and what to do we celebrate at Easter? It is not
salvation. So Lent is the time for us to reflect on God’s love for us, because God, at the end, gave us salvation.
And when, as we reflect, what do we reflect on? Not only just his love, but also our response to him… our
response to him as disciples. We ask ourselves, how are we responding to God’s love? So that’s where I won’t
want to say that we change, or we do penance for the wrong, but the time when we then now make
adjustments, we adjust ourselves. Lent is the time for us to adjust, so that we can go on the right course
with God. So that we can walk behind Him, so that we can pick up our cross and follow Christ, to be that
Lent is not, as I said, the time of punishment, but Lent is the time to see God’s love, and to make the
necessary change. And as we make the change, what’s happening inside of us? Then we know-the fasting,
the prayer, the almsgiving-that makes sense. Because what’s happening inside causes me, because I’m
sorry for my sins, therefore I make the changes. Therefore I fast, because I recognize God’s love for me.And
so I know I’ve done wrong, I’m contrite, then I change. I make the change in me. I fast. I fast from food and
all that. Then of course, when you fast from food, what happens? You save money, right? So what do you
do with the money you saved?…(do you)put it in the bank, and just go on with your day? That’s not right,
that’s where God’s gift comes along. It is your talent, and this, whatever you have saved, goes to the poor…
feed them. That’s why you give alms.
Then of course, the prayer part. We pray a little bit more, we pray for strength to change and the ability to
change… and actually also, in the beginning, we should pray for enlightenment, to know where we have
So, the whole season of Lent is meant for us to make the necessary adjustment so that we can be disciples,
so that we can be truly, sons and daughters of God. Also, I hope, you know, that as legionaries, you bring
the right attitude to your contacts as well. In my interactions with some people, I called them the “holy
aunties”… are the ones who tell people that you must fast and all that but for all the wrong reasons…(or)
you need to pray this, you need to pray that, and everything becomes very superstitious.
I hope you all can at least share the right attitude that we all need to have in the season of Lent, and that
the fasting and all that we do, it is a sign of what is going on inside. So please remember, that the season of
Lent is a reflection of your response to the love of God, and actually God’s love for you and your response
to that love. Also, like I said, Lent is not the time of punishment, and we need to tell the right thing. So I
would like to share with you my favourite poem about Lent, and the whole attitude that we need to have
on fasting. It is by this person named Robert Herrick (1608), and the poem’s name is To Keep a True Lent.
The poem goes like this:
Is this a fast, to keep
The larder lean?
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d to go,
A downcast look and sour?
No; ’tis a fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat,
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife,
From old debate
And hate ;
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin ;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.
So, remember, as we keep this Lent, it’s all about the attitude. Amen.