Rev. Noel Corcino, CJM
This forty-day Lenten journey does not depend on what we abstain from or from what we opted not to eat, but more on what we sincerely give to make this forty-day remarkable experience of solitude and a turning point to God.
The message of changing our ways is actually a constant challenge for all of us. But the more we are urged to face this challenge in this season of commemorating the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ for us to have a meaningful and joyful celebration of His resurrection. We are called to a deep reflection, an invitation to plunge into “the wilderness” and brave enough to battle our own stubbornness of heart and constant rebellion in these forty day.
Forty is a significant figure in the life and journey of the chosen people in the Old Testament: Moses had forty days and forty nights on the mountain of God; Noah with that great flood lasted forty days and forty nights; the journey of prophet Elijah was spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness trudging to the mountain of God. The Israelites, the chosen people of God had spent forty years in the wilderness; the Kingship of David existed for forty years; The wilderness really existed and was a tough ground for challenging the people of God. It is where God is “testing you to know what was in your heart”(Deut 8:2).
I could remember my co-teacher who walked out from his fourth-year high school class. Eventually, he realized that he burst into anger without valid reason, then immediately left the whole class. When I told him to go back to his room, he refused to do so because he was ashamed to accept of his strange and unbecoming reaction. He would rather cling to his pride than to be reconciled with them by accepting his limitations.
We are like that in our relationship with God. Countless times we walk away from Him not because he reprimanded us, but due to our unstoppable, selfish and favorable reaction to be conformed to the trends in the world. We all have the tendency to worship everything that the world can offer. These things would gradually engulf us leaving our hearts hardened and deaf to the message of repentance.
To change our ways and returning to God means giving back ourselves to the eternal father, whom St. John Eudes called “the Father of Mercies…” Contemplating the journey of the Jesus’ Passion and Death would help us fully understand the profound desire of the “benign Redeemer’s incarnation is to exercise his great mercy towards us.”
Another forty-day means another chance for all of us to intensify our sincere desire to make this Lenten observance a starting point for a perpetual and concrete act of changing our ways and cling to the “love of the Father of mercies.” Amen