Lenten grace

First Week of Lent

By Fr Jhonatan A. Letada SVD (Philippines)

Fr Jonathan Letada SVD celebrating Mass with Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Parish of the Risen Lord in Tondo, Manila, Philippines

Life is a journey.

Christian life is a great pilgrimage with Jesus to the Father. And in every journey,  there is always newness of meaning, of growth, and redirection. 

In the First Week of Lent,  we are directed by the readings to renew our commitment to journey with Jesus, guided by the various journeys of people in the Scriptures.

1. The journey of Israelites from slavery in Egypt to Freedom in the Promise Land. 

2. The missionary journey of St Paul.

3. The 40-day journey of Jesus in the desert. 

We believe that in every step we take,  it is not a smooth, linear, and plain wat, but there are times that we encounter difficulties, hardships, and even temptations to give up. Despite all of these, we continue to journey with greater faith. 

The prayer of David in Responsorial Psalm last Sunday is our inspiration prayer, a prayer of faith: BE WITH ME LORD,  WHEN I AM IN TROUBLE. 

WHAT ARE GOD’S ASSURANCES THAT HE WILL BE WITH US IN OUR LENTEN JOURNEY?

He will provide us the Lenten Grace to have a meaningful Lenten journey.

1. Sunday

The Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus assured us of the gift of PERSERVERANCE during moments of Temptation. 

What are the sources of Jesus’ perseverance during temptations? P-D-T

PRAYER: it is in the power of prayer that Jesus overcomes the tempter.

DISCERNMENT: it unmasks the lie of temptation. 

TRUST: The very essential ingredient to surrender our own will to God with wholehearted dedication, and commitment. 

2. Monday

Parable of the End of Time (Mt. 25: 31-46)

Jesus assured us of the gift of CHARITY in our dealings with our brothers and sisters.

The gospel reminds us that the genuineness of our faith is manifested through acts of charity,  that is, by looking and responding to the needs of others. In doing so,  we are guiding them to Jesus, who is present to the least, disadvantaged, and marginalized.

St. Mother Teresa once said: “At the end of our life,  we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received,  how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by I was hungry and you gave me to eat.  I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.”

3. Tuesday 

The Lord’s Prayer (Mt.6:7-15)

Jesus assured us of the gift of PRAYER in moments of loneliness, frustrations, and depression. 

For Henry Nouwen, “The invitation to a life of prayer is an invitation to live in the midst of this world without being caught in the net of wounds and needs. Prayer is at the center of our Christian life. It is living with God in the here and now.”

4. Wednesday

The Demand for a Sign (Lk. 11:29-32)

Jesus assured us of the gift of REPENTANCE.

Jesus’ life is the greatest sign of God’s care, compassion and reconciliation. He himself is calling us to repentance. 

For Fr. John Fuellenbach, “To repent means to respond to the invitation to let God into our lives, a God who loves,  who forgives and who is always with us.”

5. Thursday

The Answer to Prayers (Mt. 7:-12)

Jesus assured us of the gift of God’s GENEROSITY 

God is never outdone in his generosity. For this, what we have to do is simply present our needs to Him with filial trust, like the trust of a child, confident that God knows what is best for us. 

5. Friday

Teaching about Anger (Mt. 5:20-26)

Jesus assured us of the gift of HOLINESS. 

Lent is the season that invites us to take the path of holiness. 

Holiness is not a matter of satisfying the demands of the law, rather it is a matter of personal relationship with God and our neighbors.

If you truly want to be holy, love God, and love your neighbor. This is our way to heaven. 

 6. Saturday

Love of Enemies

Jesus assured us of the gift of COMPLETENESS/WHOLENESS

The key word of Jesus’ teaching is perfection. The word “perfect” in the original Hebrew language is “completeness and wholeness.” Thus, to be perfect means to be complete, to be whole. To be perfect means ‘not lacking in what is essential’. God has given us the essential gift of life: LOVE, a faithful love. It is only through the faithful love of Jesus that makes our life complete. 

WHAT ARE GOD’S ASSURANCES THAT HE WILL BE WITH US IN OUR LENTEN JOURNEY? 

God assured us of the gifts of perseverance, charity, prayer, repentance, generosity, holiness, and completeness/wholeness.  Through these great virtues that we enliven in our daily acts, we must completely discern and understand the true meaning of the greatest sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ: to suffer, die, and rise again to cleanse us from our unworthiness, iniquities, and lack of FAITH. Have a meaningful Lenten Season. God bless you all.




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