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by Father Gordon Combs, OFM Cap
St. Elizabeth Church, Aiea, Hawaii

Father GordonAs I write these words the Democratic and Republican Primary elections and caucuses are ongoing. All the candidates have, at sometime or other, used the words CHANGE to describe themselves and their candidacy. Of course they are referring to social and political change. The candidates have been scurrying around the country trying to get their message out to as many people as possible before Super Tuesday, February 5th, which by the way, also happens to be Mardi Gras, the day before Lent begins.

How appropriate. On Ash Wednesday, as we attend Mass and receive ashes, we will hear the Old Testament prophets and Jesus call us to Repentance. What Jesus means by Repentance is also CHANGE.

The CHANGE that Jesus calls us to during Lent is CHANGING the direction of our lives.

At times, almost  unnoticed by ourselves, we drift away from God. We get caught up in practices and routines that lead us away from prayer, almsgiving and works of charity and into self serving life styles.

During Lent, Jesus calls us to rededicate ourselves to the gospel values, focusing our efforts and attention on God and others, especially the needy in our midst.

Somebody quipped to me recently, “I am giving up my New Year’s resolutions for Lent” We have often thought of Lent in the context of “giving up “something. Jesus’ invitation doesn’t seem to be about “giving up something” but rather CHANGING the momentum of our direction away from self interest activities toward self giving works of charity.

I have heard the candidates tell us that we have to ”Change Washington,” meaning the way government functions. Jesus call us, first of all, to change what we can really change, CHANGE OURSELVES!


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