by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
Lent has begun. Jesus gave us very clear instructions for what we need to do as Christians: “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” In the Gospel we heard on Ash Wednesday, Jesus was even more specific: We are to pray, fast, and give alms. He adds that we are not to pray, fast, or give alms like hypocrites, that is, doing these practices for show, for people to see and to win their esteem. Rather, what matters is that God sees what is hidden, and he will repay us accordingly. The church gives us even more details about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent. We are given additional opportunities to go to Mass, receive holy Communion, have our sins absolved in sacramental confession, and pray the Stations of the Cross, just to name a few of the more important practices of prayer.