By Father Anthony Iromenu, Sacred Heart Church, Dos Palos

Contributing Writer

Lent this year begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14. It is the season that we recall the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for his public ministry. The season of Lent was instituted in the 4th century as a period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter.

Since then, Christians every year relive the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross by following his footsteps of 40 days of prayer, fasting and alms giving. During this season we seek the Lord in prayer, in receiving his forgiveness, the grace to turn away from sin and receiving his mercy and love.

We focus on Fasting or giving up something, something that’s a regular part of our life; practicing self-control or abstaining from luxuries. There is also the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays, with some also giving up dessert, smoking, alcohol, chocolates etc. as a part of self-discipline.

During Lent we strive to stay away from places or things that lead us to sin and avoid the occasion of sin. We are challenged to do something good for others as a way of responding to God’s grace, generosity and love.

It is a period we reflect on the three temptations of Jesus to draw a moral lesson for our spiritual growth. He was tempted by the devil to turn stone into bread. This has to do with the use of our God given talents and abilities.

Do we remember to use gifts as a means of serving others? Jesus was also tempted to prove that he is God’s son by jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple and letting the angles catch him as was promised in the scriptures.

In the third temptation, the devil promises Jesus all kingdoms of earth if he worships him. In all his temptation Jesus overcame the devil by his strong faith in his almighty Father.

The reason Jesus went through all He did in his humanity, was because of his love for us all. God loves us so much that he was willing to endure every form of hardship and human suffering that we encounter in our lives.

It’s love so deep that God himself was willing to experience our weakness and pain so that He would be able to meet us where we are, to console us in whatever situation we are going through in life.

Our temptation today may be heavy or light, it may be from health issues, spouses, workplace, siblings, children etc. but we can always draw strength from Jesus.

Lent is that special time to renew our faith and come back to God. In 2 Corinthians 6:2 he says, “In an acceptable time, I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

The Westside Express