Pope Francis speaks to us Lent a time to adjust your life


Pope Francis speaks to us  Lent a time to adjust your life

‘Conversion’ the key word of Lent, as a favorable time “to grow closer” to Jesus. Commenting on the reading from the book of Isaiah 1:10,16-20, he said, “The Lord calls two “sinful cities” like Sodom and Gomorrah to conversion. This shows us that we all “need to make a change of life,”to take a “good look into our soul” — where we alwaysfind something. The purpose of Lent, then, is precisely “to adjust my life,” todraw closer to the Lord. Jesus wants to be close to us; He assures us that He is “waiting for us in order to forgive us.” However, the Lord wants “a sincere approach;” and warns us against being hypocrites”: 

“What makes people hypocrites? They disguise themselves as good people: they make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen. They believe they are more righteous than others, theydespise others. ‘Mah,’ they say, “I’m very Catholic, because my uncle was a great benefactor, my family is this, I’m that…I’ve learned…I know this bishop, this Cardinal, this priest…I am this or that…’ They think they are better than others. This is hypocrisy. The Lord says,‘No, not that.’ No one is justified by himself. We all need to be justified. And the only onewho justifies us is Jesus Christ.” : “in order not to be Christians in disguise, so that when the appearance passes, one can see the reality that they are not Christians.”

What, then, is “the yardstick” to ensure that we are not hypocrites and that we are able to draw closer to the Lord?”The answer is that given us by the Lord, “Wash yourselves clean!” Purify yourself!“Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.” This is the invitation. “What is the sign that we are going along on a good path? ” Redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Take care of the neighbor: the sick, the poor, the needy, the ignorant. This is the yardstick. The hypocrites do not know how to do this, they can’t, because they are so full of themselves that they are blind on account of watching others. When one walks a little bit and comes closer to the Lord, the light of the Lord makes him see these things and he goes to help the brothers. This is the sign, this is the sign of conversion.”

Of course this is not the whole of conversion that in fact, is the encounter with Jesus Christ. The signthat we are with Jesus Christ is this: caring for the brothers and sisters, the poorest, the sick, as the Lord teaches us, as we read in chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew.

Lent is to adjust life, to fix life, to change life, to draw closer to the Lord. The sign that we are far from the Lord is hypocrisy. The hypocrite does not need the Lord, he is saved by himself — so he thinks — and he disguises himself as a saint. The sign that we are drawing closer to the Lord with repentance, asking for forgiveness,is that we care for the needy brethren. May the Lord give us all light and courage: light to know what’s happening within us,and courage to convert, to draw closer to the Lord.It is beautiful to
be close to the Lord.”