If you go to church on Ash Wednesday – next Wednesday, Feb. 26 – as so many people do, you will hear an invitation to fully participate in Lent.
It’s the opening verses of the first reading, taken from the book of Joel. Scholars tell us it was most likely composed in 450-400 BC, meaning it has been waiting for you to respond for a long, long time.
Here is what you will hear.
Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. Joel 2:12-13
We’re reproducing it here is case you want to copy, paste and perhaps print it – keeping it handy for reference all through the Lenten days leading up to Easter Sunday on April 12.
Lent, as you may recall, is a time for prayer, fasting and alms-giving so that our own hearts and minds may better conform to the heart and mind of Jesus.
We like to say that our purpose at the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute is to help people learn how to live, love and lead like Jesus. That is, in effect, the whole point of Lent.
We hope you will take the Lord’s invitation to heart always – but most especially beginning next Wednesday. Whatever you do – or stop doing – during Lent, look for opportunities to draw closer to Jesus, Lord and Savior.
Why? Well, for one thing, he loved us – each and every one of us – enough to give his life for us.
That’s a start, wouldn’t you say?