Preparation is an integral part of success. It shows how committed we are to something. We prepare for an exam weeks or days ahead, weddings take more than 1 year of preparation, people study for board exams for months, while athletes train for years before a competition. Can you imagine how life would be if we just show up for an exam without preparing, to marry someone without planning and praying, to take the board exam without the effort of studying or compete in sports without training? It’s a recipe for FAILURE!
As we enter into Lent let us take time to PAUSE, PRAY AND PREPARE. The ashes we receive represent death and repentance. Form dust we came and from dust we will return. Life as we know it does not end with death. Our body may die but our spirit lives on. Where do we want to spend eternity? We plan and invest so much to prepare for our children’s future. We even have estate seminars because we want to ensure that there will be a smooth transition when we die. Did we ever consider preparing for our real home? How much time and effort do we give for our eternity?
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays since we consider it as mini-Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Only Ash Wednesday is mandatory for fasting for ages between 18-59 years old. However, since we are commemorating the fasting of Christ for 40 days before His public ministry we are encouraged to offer something to the Lord.
What is the significance of 40 days in the bible?
Forty is a very popular and significant number in the bible.
*The Israelites wandered for forty years in the desert. It prepared them for the promised land.
*Jonah warned the people of Nineveh that in 40 days it will be destroyed. This was the call for people to convert their ways.
*Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. This was right before his public ministry.
*The ascension of Jesus is 40 days after the Resurrection.
40 is usually associated with the time of preparation. It is a time for us to experience God. As Filipinos we have the longest preparation for Christmas because it starts by September. We are busy preparing for parties, gifts, events and as the song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But is it really? Yes, we celebrate the coming of Christ during Christmas but Easter is the most wonderful time . We get excited when we open our gifts for Christmas, but Easter is when we receive our best gift ever! It is our hope that because of Christ‘s death and resurrection, we too will have the chance to be with God in Heaven for eternity. Easter is the most important event in our church. It is the culmination of the mission of Christ to save us. If He who died on the cross for us willingly suffered to show us how much we mean to Him, what can we offer Him in return?
Lent is the time for prayer, fasting and alms giving. We have heard this line many times but how can we really practice it? Perhaps now more than ever we need to beg the Lord with utmost humility in prayer. Here are some questions that can guide us in our reflection time. Can we offer a little less time for games, Facebook, Instagram, or K-drama and a little more time for prayer? What is God asking us to do to have a deeper relationship with Him? How much time do I give to the Lord? What do I need to remove (fast) from my life that blocks me to have that intimacy with God? Can I offer this sacrifice for the atonement of my sins and that of others? Am I willing to forgive the way the Lord forgave me? How can I be bolder in sharing my faith especially to those closest to me? How is my relationship with my family? How much am I willing to share especially with our less fortunate brothers and sister? Let us grow in holiness and celebrate Easter with great love and joy!