Dear Family of the Holy Cross Parish,
“Repent and believe in the Gospel”. With these words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy we will begin our annual preparation for Easter Sunday. This year the Catholic and Orthodox Christians in Cyprus will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ together with the universal Church all over the world (20 April).
For forty days we will have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter, to correct and change what is improper in our lives as Christians and to turn back to God. Prayer, giving alms, fasting and many other practices of this season (see p. 3) will help us achieve our Lenten resolutions. Sacramental confession, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence from meat and alcohol on all Fridays of Lent, are practices that the Church invites us to observe during this time.
In his Lenten message Pope Francis reminds us that “Christ became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). “Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all”. Pope Francis distinguishes poverty from destitution (material, moral and spiritual). Destitution is not the same as poverty. Destitution is poverty without faith, without support and without hope. Pope Francis adds that “there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ”… “In every time and place God continues to save mankind and the world through the poverty of Christ, who makes himself poor in the sacraments, in his word and in his Church, which is a people of the poor”. Pope Francis gives us useful directions concerning what we can do this Lenten time to help others, to share our riches with those who are poor and less fortunate among us: “in imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it”.
My dear friends, God in His compassion and mercy sacrificed His Son and for us He became the poorest of all. Let us embrace the cross that God is offering us in our life. We are not alone in carrying it. And if you are discouraged through your sufferings, look at the crucifix and the One who is hung on it.
Do you want to know how much God loves you? See the outstretched arms of Jesus on the Cross! That much! I wish you all and myself a fruitful repentance!
Fr. Zacheusz M. Dulniok, ofm