Lent is not a Spiritual Exhibition!

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As we stepped into Lent 2017, with ashes on our forehead, the Mass readings of Ash-Wednesday, especially the Gospel seemed to have a new message for me and for everyone of us. Yes, Lent calls us to Fasting, Praying and Almsgiving. Jesus is certainly not playing down the age-old practice of asceticism. However, he draws our attention to the vanity of fasting, praying and almsgiving prompted by an exhibitionist attitude. In Mathew’s Gospel, chapter 6, Jesus repeatedly uses the word “secret” as the necessary condition to receive rewards from the Lord. “Your Father, who sees you in secret will reward you”, Christian spirituality is essentially an “interior life”. ‘Secrecy’ and not publicity of our asceticism merits reward from our heavenly Father. Jesus denounced every form of external activities and appearances of piety calling it ‘hypocrisy’ and comparing it to ‘whitewashed sepulchers. Lent is not a 40-day spiritual exhibition of Christian virtues. Lent then, is more about repentance and reconciliation through conversion of the heart (inner life) which alone will find us resurrecting in Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour.

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