Tomorrow lent begins. Lent is the long preparation for Easter which is in seven weeks time.

The journey towards Easter is a community effort, but it is also a very personal journey. Our religious community or the parish is on a journey with us, but the effort and determination to take lent very seriously is actually our own personal responsibility. Today’s Gospel clearly points out that the main obstacle for each of us to achieve the goals we should reach, are actually very personal, private goals, namely, overcoming personal pride and the love of money.

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There is no question that money and a sense of personal worthwhileness are both good and necessary, but they can also be very destructive in our relationship with God.

This is where our community, family and friends come in. All these are important in our life with God. But we cannot ever make ourselves better than others because we think we are better than anyone else, or, have more money than anybody. This alone can quickly destroy our relationship with God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus raises awareness that the love of money and the pursuit of money, can destroy our relationship with those we need most for our salvation, God and people.

What is Jesus talking about? Our search for personal riches, and self- importance, can hurt the time we spend with family and friends. It can hurt our church attendance, our prayer life. It can lead to failure to educate our children in the faith. It can lead to elder abuse and the practice of immorality.

Lent is especially important because if a person has the attitude that the most important person is “me”, and on all my personal needs and wants, then the focus on God, the author of life, is not present.

St John Chrysostom said that we should fast as Jesus Himself fasted. Fasting is a help to us. We should approach fasting with expectation of spiritual improvement.

Fasting requires a dedication and determination. It is not possible to do it without prayer and a blessing from God. Many people fail to carry out their good intentions to fast during lent.

During lent we are asked to give money to the poor. That is why we have the Caritas donations. Thinking about others is what lent is all about. It is also about our ultimate journey in life which is made possible by the Resurrection of Jesus.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

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This post is also available in: Ukrainian