Jakarta, 18 February 2015 (Ash Wednesday)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Re: LENT IS A SEASON OF HOPE
We come to the season of Lent, our “springtime” of refreshing and hope. Think of what it’s like to plant a garden. Would you till the soil, plant the seeds, and faithfully monitor the crops if you had no hope for any growth? Would you spend your time, money, and energy for nothing? Of course not. We plant because we expect some return, some fruit, for our labors. With this in mind, we can understand how deeply God our Father is committed to the Church. God loves His creation. He loves each and every person. His intention that His Church bear lasting fruit is unshakable and unending. Full of love, God looks for a fruitful return on all He has given us.
Lent is a season of love. Our hope rests in the fact that Jesus has defeated sin. He has delivered us from the bondage of sin and He will continue to deliver us with ever-increasing power. How He longs to gather His children together in His embrace (Mark 10:16). We have hope because God is for us, and no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31-32). He is on our side, eager to give us everything we need to grow more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus.
God will never abandon us. He will show us the way to our eternal home, and as we travel along the way, He will form us into His body. In His mercy, He has not left us helpless, but has given us wonderful gifts to help us follow Him – faith and grace, His body and blood in the Eucharist, sanctifying gifts, and spiritual gifts. How wonderful is our God, so wonderful that we can see our lives change to reflect His life more and more!
Every Lent, God, like a farmer, wants to plant seeds in the Church and watch them spring up. He eagerly waits to see new fruit, both in our own lives and in our neighborhoods and communities. He wants to see His people experience all the grace and power they received when they were baptized. He longs to see His Church shine as a light to the world as the people proclaim the Gospel in words and in acts of love.
May this Lent be a time of peace and comfort for you as you seek a deeper experience of God’s presence in your life. May we all know God’s abundant love more deeply.
Your brother in Indonesia,
A Christian Pilgrim