His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga-Lenten Message 2019


 

“Repent and Believe In the Gospel”

Dear Brother Priests,

Dear Religious men and women,

Dear People of God,

In this special season of Lent, I greet each and every one of you using the words of the Apostle Paul,

thus, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:13). What the Apostle wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as expressed in that greeting is my wish for all of us, namely, grace, love, and communion.

We start the season of Lent in our Catholic life and faith with the rite of smearing ashes on our foreheads. This rite gives the name to that special Wednesday and so it is called, “Ash Wednesday.” One may wonder, why should we smear ourselves with ashes? We smear ourselves with ashes as a sign of our repentance and humility in the presence of God. Biblically, ashes have a strong meaning of someone who has repented and is seeking to reconcile with God. We remember the example of the prophet Jonah and the people of Nineveh. God sent the prophet Jonah to proclaim to the people of Nineveh the message of repentance. When these people listened to the message of Jonah, they repented. The major external signs of their interior repentance were the proclamation of the fast, putting on sackcloth, sitting down in ashes (Jonah 3:5-6) Seeing their repentance, God did not destroy the city of Nineveh as He had intended (Jonah 3:10). In this conversion, the Church sees the origins of Lent and the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

As the Archdiocese of Kampala, in this pastoral year, we are being guided by the theme; “Remember, Rejoice and Renew Starting a fresh from Christ.” By remembering our past, we thank God for all the blessings that He has offered us. As human beings, however, we realize that some of our words, actions and thoughts have not been in conformity with the Will of God that is revealed to us in the Ten Commandments, the Word of God and the Teaching of the Church. Realizing our human weaknesses, we should not be lost in despair but rather we should rejoice in the loving mercy of God. Indeed, also in our times is fulfilled the passage of Sacred Scripture that, “Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:16) We experience and receive this mercy in a very special way in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Having rejoiced in the mercy of God, we renew our lives so that we can have a total conversion from vice to virtue.

The time of Lent focuses more on the spiritual renewal of our lives. It is true that renewal is an on-going process but the season of Lent stands out and it has been identified by the Church as one of the seasons and days of penance. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 1438 rightly teaches us that, “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works.)” These various activities of Lent that Mother Church proposes to us are therefore moments of grace for each and every one of us.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us to have total peace, in our minds and our neighbors. Throughout this Lenten period I urge you to pay regard to the call of Mary at Kibeho whose icon is within our diocese: The Urgent call for repentance and conversion of heart, to stop hypocrisy and have genuine love to God and our neighbor, praying meditatively unceasingly, to pray the seven sorrows rosary of Virgin Mary and always praying for our mother Church.

I exhort all of you to use well this time of Lent so that it may truly be a moment of grace for all of us. By living the three fundamental pillars of Lent, that is, Prayer, Fasting and Charitable Works, we shall have truly lived and experienced our Archdiocesan theme, namely, “Remember, Rejoice and Renew starting a fresh from Christ.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary - Mother of the Church, pray for us.

The Holy Martyrs of Uganda, pray for us

+CKL

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2019  Kampala Archdiocese