February 12, 2013
"My father was a prosperous merchant who had 180 dependents and had plenty of money from his labor. He constantly taught me accounting and business, telling me that at some point, all that he was building would be mine. Of all the things he taught me, I remember the morning of February 7, 2001 when I took him to the hospital. That man, so strong and full of life, succumbing without the doctors being able to do something. His death, coming almost as he lay in my arms, the biggest lesson I had ... "life is fleeting." Regardless of our status socially, professionally, economically or whatever, we will die. Interestingly, now, my life is governed by my thinking about my father's death. Everything I do, I do it thinking that I'm going to die. "
The story of Jose Fernandez explains the meaning of Ash Wednesday: "We must remember that we are dust and to dust you will return." This time of Lent, which we begin with this celebration, is a reflection on what we are doing with our lives and the way God asks us to live. This time, thinking about death, or better yet, thinking about our death, we must change our ways...
Long ago, with the patriarchs, judges, prophets we have been talking about the changing of our ways ... 'must choose between good and evil. That seems to be our story, a constant deciding between right and wrong. Indeed, from the time evil entered the world, temptation – the invitation to do what we shouldn’t do – accompanies us everywhere. What we live, is the struggle of all human beings. Not just a struggle today, but an eternal struggle.
This delicate thread seems to divide human beings in two camps, those who do not wish to fall, those struggling not to fall into temptation and the others, who despite putting up resistance, have been fallen to their temptations ('sinning') and remain there.
Indeed, we live situations in which we wrap ourselves in the mantle of sin that prevents us from seeing the light. And we stay there, used to living in the dark. We even begin to think there is no better place. Then, from a lie, we live a lie. From a misunderstanding, we live in ignorance. After a robbery, we live stealing. From a fear, we live fearful ... We live shackled to error, to deception and all that prevents us from seeing the light.
That is humanity’s constant struggle ... 'avoid falling into temptation'. But more than once we have fallen into it. Then the cry of John the Baptist and that of many others, even the cry of our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends who want the best for us, resonates like the winds of a thousand trumpets: "change your way.”
Since young I have lived away from my parents and brothers went to boarding schools, carrying in my heart everything my parents taught me. So, against the danger of temptation, their advice strengthened me ... however, it was not always so, at times temptation to certain things would win out and I would find myself trapped in sin... Thank God, the counsel of my parents made me straighten my ways ... also the cry of John the Baptist came to me and said: "be better, be good."
And that I did. I have tried every day to be better, and I keep trying. But when I found myself bound by sin, I approached God in confession and asked forgiveness of all my sins and the grace to keep me healthy and free from any sinful situation.
Living between grace and sin ... If living in grace, we ask God to keep living that way. If you living in sin, ask God to help us out of it. This act of humility, to apologize to God for what's done is called repentance. It is that moment when we feel unhappy about what we did, suffering because of the evil we have done, we hurt from the realization that we have brought more pain and suffering into the world. WE REPENT!
And this is what God sees, not our sin but the sincerity of our repentance.
Lent is the opportunity God gives us to repent of anything we have done wrong. Lent is the opportunity God gives us to trust in His love.
Let’s stop living in secret or in the dark. It's time we open the window of Light and let that light extend through our soul. God is inviting us.
If we have not fallen to temptation, pray to stand firm in the Lord. If we have fallen into temptation and live in sin the time has come, the chance to taste, feel the love of God who touches all of our being.
Brothers and Sisters, it is Lent, a time of repentance and the loving manifestation of God.
Change our ways, repent of our sin, because we are beings who are going to die...