Lenten Theme Explained: Why Him, Why That, Why Now
Welcome to Lent, a season where we enter into a journey that is meant to unite us more closely to Jesus and strip us of anything that doesn’t resemble Him. Pope Francis shares in his Lent message for 2017 that This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, He patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, He shows us His readiness to forgive.
Our Lenten theme for 2017 is “Why Him, Why That, Why Now?” The theme is meant to engage our curiosity around Jesus and how the Cross and the Mass apply to our life. The goal is that at the end of the season we have a deeper understanding of where the Mass came from biblically and pose a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist and our faith.
Why is Jesus the central most important figure in all of history? We organize our calendar around His birth, life, and death. There are more books written about Him than any historical figure. Why Jesus is a question on which our whole faith is based. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God who was the one to save us from evil and forgive us of our sins. He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. Our Lenten investigation will show that Jesus is the perfect rescue for a world in desperate need of an answer. He is the Son of God and Son of Man who came to save us.
Why did Jesus have to die on a cross? For that matter, why did He have to die at all? As we investigate the Bible, we will come to see that sacrifice is at the center of God’s covenant love with His people. Sacrifice signifies a gift of self. God is love and to love is to sacrifice oneself for the good of the other. God uses sacrifice as a bond of love between Himself and us. Our Lenten investigation will reveal how the cross, though a means of torture from the Romans, ties into a sign of sacrificial love for God to His people.
Why do you go to Mass? You love Jesus, you want to give thanks, you have always done it, your mother is making you, that’s what Catholics do, you are trying to keep peace in your family, you want more out of life, you desire to be filled with God. There are many responses to the initial question. What we will investigate is why the Mass is relevant to our life. The Church tells us it’s the source and summit of our faith. As we discover what that means, this will change perspectives of the Mass and why it is necessary to attend. Each Lenten weekend will include a preaching series focused on describing the biblical origins of the Mass. The culmination of our study of the liturgy will be found in the Easter Triduum (Holy Week).
I hope you enjoy our journey. To accompany you, please take advantage of the prayer companion book, Journey to Jerusalem. Jesus is opening His heart to share it with each one of us. I close with some final words from Pope Francis’ Lent letter: Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His word, in the sacraments, and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. Let us courageously accompany Him, listening to His words, noticing His actions, accepting His invitations. May this Lent bless you richly.
- Fr. Micheal Delcambre