Bishop John Asks Us to Think Globally During Lent

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

In his homily given at today’s Ash Wednesday Mass, Bishop John asked us to consider our brothers and sisters across the world throughout the season of Lent. Read the homily below:

I tend to think of this season of lent as rather personal, thinking of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving from a personal point of view, but I think in a rather different context this year because we’ve got three global crises and I think that must affect our thinking. The first is the pandemic. Yes, really, we’re doing quite well – it would seem were emerging from it, whatever its meant for us whether it’s just the inconvenience or far more seriously, financial distress, illness, bereavement among family and friends, but it does seem we’re emerging from that.

But of course, this isn’t the case for so many other nations where vaccines are in short supply, where we’ll probably never know the real impact of the pandemic on the poorest of the poor. So that needs to be part of our thinking. Then we’ve got climate change. And the reality of that is not going to go away. We are facing a climate crisis, and a recent international panel on climate change from the United Nations has said we’re not really repairing any of the damage, we’re actually losing our grip on what we can be doing. There is some irreparable damage already done, some things are irretrievable even as we stand now. So, we’ve got to take that into consideration. And then in the last week, a new crisis, which is becoming a global crisis over Ukraine. Because politics seems to have lost all morality. There seems to be no sense of negotiation or diplomacy and we are dealing with someone with no scruples about justice at all.

Where will it go? So, I would suggest that this season of lent we have to add a global dimension to what we are about: prayer, fasting, almsgiving.

Prayer: We must never underestimate how powerful our prayer can be, yes, your prayer and mine. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. That’s the promise of the scripture. So, we must pray. We might think were not very good at prayer, but we only have to come before the lord in silence, dedicate time to him and ask that he influence our actions and our motives and those of those leaders how are in power around use who can make those important decisions.

And we come to fasting, and I just suggest that is an invitation this year to think about living more simply, making sure we don’t waste food or fuel and that we are a little bit more alert to what we can do conserving our environment.

And then almsgiving. Well, that’s always a challenge to us, isn’t it? Because although we may be in very different circumstances people today, I think just about every one of us would have to claim we are prosperous compared with so many people in our world. So not a very cheerful beginning to this evening’s events, sorry about that and I apologise, but we have to take very seriously those global challenges and our own challenges, because Pope Francis assures us that each and every one of us has a part to play, that no one ins insignificant in what he or she can do and we need to work together for our brothers and sisters in our common home.

And mine, it is that wonderful phrase in that second reading from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. “So, we are ambassadors for Christ,”. That what it’s all about, as we make Christ present in the world in our generation today, by our prayer, fasting almsgiving, by the way that we live the gospel. God bless you for all that you are all that you do let’s see what we may achieve by even our humble efforts in this season of lent to make our world a better and safer place for all our brothers and sisters, in caring for our common home.

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