DATE : 2017-02-20 03:41:29
Fr. Manel VALLS i Serra
Today is the first day of Lent: «Now is the day of salvation!» (2Cor 6:2). The application of ashes reminds us of two ideals; the ancient one: «Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you will return»; and the one which the Council's renewed liturgy has introduced: «Repent, and believe in the Gospel». Both thoughts are an invitation to look at our own life in a different way —normally, so superficial. Pope Saint Clement I reminds us that «our Lord wants all whom He loves to become converts».
day we start our itinerary towards Easter, and the Gospel reminds us of the fundamental Christian duties, not only as a preparation for the liturgical time, but also as a preparation for the Eternal Easter: «Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven» (Mt 6:1). The righteousness Jesus speaks about is made up of our living according to the evangelic convictions, without forgetting that «unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven» (Mt 5:20).
Righteousness leads us to love, expressed through our charity and mercy: «If you give something (…), do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing» (Mt 6:2). It does not mean that good deeds should be concealed, but we ought not to think of human praise when doing them, nor should we be looking forward to other superior and heavenly benefits. In other words, when I give alms I should not be thinking I am doing anything especial that deserves a reward from God and applause from men.
Benedict XVI already claimed that helping the needy is a duty of justice, even before an act of charity: «Charity goes beyond justice (…); but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting». We should never forget that we are not the absolute owners of the goods we possess, but only their administrators. Jesus Christ has shown us that the true charity is not that which is limited to “giving” alms, but that which also “offers” our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (cf. Rom 12:1); this would be the true act of Christian righteousness and charity, and «your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you» (Mt 6:4).
Oggi è il primo giorno di Quaresima: «Ora è il giorno della salvezza!» (2Cor 6: 2). L'applicazione delle ceneri ci ricorda due ideali; quella antica: «Ricordati, uomo, che sei polvere, e in polvere ritornerai»; e quello che liturgia rinnovata del Consiglio ha introdotto: «Convertitevi e credete al Vangelo». Entrambi i pensieri sono un invito a guardare la nostra stessa vita in modo diverso -Normalmente, così superficiale. Papa San Clemente I ci ricorda che «il Signore vuole che tutti coloro che Egli ama diventare convertiti».