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LENT MESSAGE 2018

CDOJ/LENT/CIR/2018                                                                             18February, 2018

 

Lenten Message

Love is the Fulfilling of the Law

(Romans 13:10)

-Most Rev. PeterParapullil

Bishop of Jhansi

 

Dear Brother Priests, ReligiousBrothers and Sisters and People of God

The sacredseason of Lent is the time of conversion. It reminds us of the new life inChrist (cf 2 Corinthians 5:17) and requires of us the removal of what isunfruitful in us (cf John 15:2). Conversion is turning to God in repentance andto neighbour in love. Thus the inseparable correlation between repentance andcommitment to the well-being of our brothers and sisters becomes evident. Thesacred season rightly stresses on prayer, fast and almsgiving. So the appeal isto reorient oneself to God and renew one’s commitment to one’s brethren.

Love is aResponsive Obligation: Love for ourbrothers and sisters is a responsive obligation, “because God’s love has beenpoured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”(Romans 5:5). Further we read, “Love does no wrong to a neighbour, thereforelove is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). St. James challenges therich for their indifference towards the poor and reminds them of the royal law:“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (James 2:8). According to St. Johnthe absence of love leads to spiritual blindness (cf 1John 2:11). Pope Francismakes an appeal to own the poor, “Today and always, the poor are the privilegedrecipients of the Gospel . . . May we never abandon them.”[1] Fragranceof the Gospel has no significance until it transforms the stench of the poor.

No to Hoarding butCourage to Feeding: Is feedingthe poor an obligation that woe to us if we do not fulfill it (cf 1 Corinthians9:16)? Anything we have in excess belongs to the one who does not have (a MoralPrinciple?). By and large a five-member family cooks food only for the five andfails to include the unfed who have nothing to eat. We shop for our family, butwe hardly give a thought to buy something or give something to the ill-clad orthe naked …etc. Let us remember that charity is not the gracious deeds we dooccasionally, but it is the state of being. The poor who reflect the disfiguredface of Christ cannot be ignored any longer. So let us have the courage to ownthe poor and eyes to perceive their right over the resources we have. As menand women are the way of the Church so are the poor. The poor are the way thatour community, parish and the diocese have to faithfully walk in it.[2]So I earnestly appeal to every family and parish to shoulder this noble responsibility.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless ourresolutions to return to God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger andabounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6) and help us tofaithfully observe his commands so that we may love one another (cf John15:17).

Yours Faithfully

Bishop of Jhansi


[1] Pope Francis, EvangeliiGaudium, 48.

[2] Pope John Paul II, RedemptorHominis, 14.