Lent: the time of our journey towards salvation, following the sapient guidance of the Word of God. The passages read on Sundays leading up to the Holy Week that follow three parallel tracks: the Old Testament, the Letters of Peter and Paul, and the passages from the Gospel of Mark and John, are the lights illuminating our way. First of all the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah – guides through ancient history where God is the protagonist, never defeated by the betrayal of mankind and of the Chosen people. God becomes an ally of man, always present, in the face of repeated betrayals, in the renewal of the covenant: with Noah, with Abraham, with the people liberated from Egyptian bondage, with the people freed from Babylon’s slavery; until the promise of the new covenant that is no longer grounded in tablets of stone or in the fact of belonging to the same people but in the knowledge of God and the of the new Law inscribed in human heart.
To this refer the Gospels of Mark and John: they proclaim the onset of the new, definitive covenant founded on the Messiah, Jesus Christ, man and Son of God.
God reveals Himself in transfiguration; he manifests the driving force of history that is God the Father who sacrifices His Son Jesus for love of humanity: placed on the Cross He is not subdued, in fact He triumphs as people are attracted by Him, in Salvation. The message of the Gospel passages is further expanded, in its redeeming impact, in the Letters of Peter and Paul: God is not an enemy of humankind, in Jesus He stood by Him, He intercedes for us, He dies for us on the Cross. We are redeemed by Him through the faith and the Sacraments, starting with Baptism. The passages read on Lenten Sundays impart a precious, linear, ancient yet constantly-renewed lesson for us.
The history of humanity is above all the history of God’s love for humankind,
that was ever-renewed, until the gift of the Son Jesus, who became flesh and made His dwelling among us, our Teacher, died and resurrected for us. Absolute and definitive Saviour. Before His love we are called to let ourselves be embraced, transformed, enabling Him to place a new heart inside us, His heart, His love, His Word. This is the overarching message of Lent that becomes a lifelong commitment: letting ourselves be reconciled with God in Jesus Christ, allowing Him to generate a new heart inside us in the image and likeness of His heart. In concrete terms, this transformation occurs along the only/threefold path indicated by Matthew on Ash Wednesday: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.