"Return to the Lord (Joel 2:13)"

“Return to me, with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relents of evil” Joel 2:12-13

The season of Lent is a grace-filled season. It is a special time of God’s love and mercy. Lenten time invites us to return to the Lord. By our sins we have gone away from the Lord. Lent is the favouable time (2 Cor. 6:2) we are invited to return to the Lord with all our heart and to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20)

The Book of Joel (2: 12-13) and St. Mathew (6:1-18) point out the ways and means as to how we should return to the Lord. 

• We should return to the Lord with all our heart in truth and humility, fully acknowledging ourselves as sinners. We should become fully aware that, by our sins, we have turned our backs to the Lord and we have gone away from the Lord.

• We should realize that the Lord, our God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relents of evil. God does not want the sinners to die; God wants that the sinners should repent and live (cf. Ez.18:23). There is a great joy in heaven when a sinner repents (cf. Lk. 15:7)

• Prayer is an eminent way of repentance and return to the Lord (cf. Mt. 6:5-15). In the light of prayer, we see ourselves as we are in the eyes of God and with the power of prayer, we take courage to return to the Lord. During the time of lent let us take more time for our personal prayer, family prayer, community prayer. We should be praying people. Prayer should be the way of our life.

• Our sincere repentance in the heart should be externally expressed through fasting, weeping and mourning (Joel 2:12). The book of Isaiah (58:6-7) points out that works of justice and mercy are the fast that is really pleasing to the Lord: “Is not this the fast that I choose” to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the Yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every Yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring the homeless poor into your house; and when you see the naked, to cover him”.

• Prayer, fast, almsgiving and other works of mercy should be done with purity of intention, namely, for the glory of God, and for the good by others and our own good.

• Through frequent reception of the sacrament of confession, let us set right our relationships with God, with our brothers and sisters, with ourselves and with nature. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; God will not despise a broken and contrite heart (cf. Ps. 50:17).

• Let us cease to do evil and learn to do good (cf. Is. 1:17) always and everywhere.

O Mary, Refugee of sinners, pray for us.