“Love Rejoice in Seeing Others Grow” Lent 2021 Message
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem” (Mt 20:18)
Jerusalem is the place where Jesus was rejected and killed by those who wanted to hold onto their power. It was also the place where Jesus showed us the true meaning of his mission and invited us to follow him in love and service.
As we begin our Lenten journey towards Jerusalem together, we are compelled to see where we need to let go of our worldly power so we can reach out and join hands and come together in unity as one Caritas confederation and as one human family.
To repeat Pope Francis’ words, “No one is saved alone!”
Jesus was mocked for not wielding a worldly power in the face of injustice: “He saved others but he cannot save himself!” He gave himself for us in a radical and trusting act of love that may seem more than what any of us wants to give in this time of fear and of pandemic.
In Caritas, we are called to give our life not by dying, but in simple, concrete acts of selflessness and generosity inspired by this radical act of love. Every day we are called to let go of our concerns for ourselves and give ourselves with tenderness, compassion and care to our brothers and sisters who are suffering and are marginalised.
“During this season of conversion, let us renew our faith, draw from the “living water” of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ,” says Pope Francis in his Lenten message.
When I’m feeling weak and all too human, I look around and see the many faces of “caritas” around the world and I’m comforted and urged on in my journey. It is the inspiration and power of these acts of love in our world that remind me that I’m not alone and that faith, hope and charity live on even in the darkest times.
The Holy Father reminds us that Lent is the season of hope. It is this hope that we nurture together that helps us believe that “history does not end with our mistakes, our violence and injustice, or the sin that crucifies Love. It means receiving from Jesus’ open heart the Father’s forgiveness”.
United with you on your Lenten journey in faith, hope and love.
Yours in Christ,
Msgr. Pierre Cibambo
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In this year's Lenten Message, Pope Francis once again urged us to take advantage of the time of Lent to further our charitable activities. On March 20, 2021, the "sweet fragrance of charity" spread to the residents of the Hai Phong Nursing Home for Nurturing and Protection. The visit of thanksgiving and sharing with the elderly here was organized by the local group “ Gospel Family,” in collaboration with the Diocesan Caritas Office of Hai Phong.
Mariam lived in Qaraqosh, Iraq, but she was forced to flee with her family when ISIS took control of the area in 2014. First the family was homeless and without work, then it was forced to live in the Persivi displacement camp. This experience still scars Mariam. She remembers being woken up by screams one night as the tent next to hers burnt down. The family next door didn’t manage to save their baby girl, who was still inside.