In the Gospel of St. Mathew, we read ’’....He fasted for forty days and nights after which he was hungry’’ (Mt. 4; 2). We can without fear of contradiction allege that Christ himself observed Lent. Saint Paul writes of Jesus,’’...But he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are’’ (Phil.2; 7-8). In this letter of St. Paul, it is made clear that during his earthly life, Jesus lived in our human form. And so we can combine the two texts from the scriptures and say that Christ observed Lent in our human form. But then we may ask, why did Christ suffer this hunger yet he had all the powers to turn the stones into bread?
The response to this question is expressed vividly in the letter to the Hebrews. ‘for the sufferings he himself passed through while being put to the test, enables him to help others when they being put to the test.’’(Heb.2; 18)From this text we can say that Christ’s sufferings here on earth enable him to help us during our moments of suffering.
Again in another text it is written, ‘it was essential that he should in this way be made completely like his brothers so that he could become a compassionate and trustworthy high priest for their relationship with God.’’(Heb.2’16)These texts from the scriptures remind us that during this period of lent; we need to be Christ like. The little hunger that we shall accept to suffer as a sacrifice, should enable us to think of our brothers and sisters who live in an abject poverty, not sure of what they will eat or when they will eat. We should think of the sick in the hospital and at home who do not only need material food but also spiritual food and consolation. We should think of the street children who are homeless and in need of a shoulder to cry on. We should keep in mind the widows, the orphans, and the aged people who strive helplessly to be their own bread winners.
Our Founder Joseph Allamano beautifully calls this period of lent, the accepted time. He refers to the words of St. Paul and confirms that this indeed is a period of favour (2cor. 6, 1-2). Allamano reminds us that more than at any other time, the Lord accepts what we do and hears our pleas during this period. Therefore, he encourages us to value this period of lent. The founder Joseph Allamano tell us that we must be closer to God during this period and not let hours go without thinking of Jesus .Allamano tells us that, lent is a period of penance and prayer, and he proposes for us, Psalm 50, as our text of meditation and prayer since this psalm teaches us about fear, hope and good intentions. (Così 106)
Therefore as followers of Christ, let us be ardent and fervent in prayer during this period of lent. Let us be Christ like in what we do and say, not forgetting that we are the eyes of Christ see the suffering, we are Christ’s hands to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked.