The time of Lent is not a period of mindless austerity, "sportive competitions in asceticism", a time of "sour faces" and period invented by the Church for "oppression of human joys and pleasures of life." Lent is rather a time of reflection on our daily lives, about the presence of evil in our everyday life, on the sources, causes and means of combat it. Therefore, already the first reading today -from the Book of Genesis- is trying to answer these questions. Moral evil is "each and every disobedience" to God, an expression of human pride and greed. The man, who received ALL from God, wanted more, he wanted to become God, and he wanted to decide about what is good and what is bad. And so it is today. The same is present in each of our sins: this is the pride, the lust and the greed.
In a similar manner, the Gospel is trying to show us what is evil and sin. In each of our sins is present this triple famine:
- the famine of bread - hunger of the body, that is greed and lust,
- the hunger for glory or pride
- and the hunger for power – prideful decision what is good and what is bad.
And the answers of Christ are: the three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.
During the Lent we don’t have mindlessly mortify ourselves. We don’t have hypocritically to sprinkle ashes ... we have to answer the question: "How it is in my life? Do I not chase too much wealth, comfort, easiness? Am I not looking just and only for my glory? Am I not only hunting and searching power and domination over others? Do I not like to set and determine all and everything in my way?"
And above all, it is a period during which we have to realize that only with the help of Christ we can overcome the evil present in our lives. Mortification and imposition of ashes on the head are only a means to ensure that such reflection leads to conversion, to change and justice. Otherwise, they are just meaningless gestures.
Can I make an effort to identify my mistakes? Is this diagnosis followed by my action and change?