In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, at dawn, pilgrims from different countries participated with the Franciscans in the Ash Wednesday Mass. As proposed by the liturgy, it is necessary to convert and believe in the Gospel. And conversion, as Br. Orlando Cabrera explained, requires, not only apparent gestures, but a definite transformation.
Br. Orlando Cabrera, ofm
“Pope Francis is directing the real experience of our faith, which must not be apparent: we must find meaning in all this, otherwise we could end up trapped in the routine, in an apparent conversion, not noticing any changes. Our experience in this place that witnessed the culmination of Jesus’ life and where Jesus fulfilled the testimony that he had come to give us, is a privilege.”
Right in the vicinity of the place where Jesus was buried and resurrected, the faithful received the imposition of the ashes and recalled the fact that we are dust and we will return to dust.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season.
Br. STÉPHANE MILOVITCH, ofm
St. Savior Monastery
“The period from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, in a certain way, is a time in which we go through conversion. There is a second, almost parallel Lent, which begins on the first Sunday of Lent and ends on Holy Saturday. This second Lent is the preparation to receive baptism by those who want to become Christians or in any case, to renew our baptismal promises.”
Three kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem, at Betfage – place that marks Jesus’ meeting with Mary and Martha before the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – even those who had the privilege of being born in the Land of Jesus, get ready to live this event!
During this season, the Franciscan friars visit more than 1400 families.
They say that, during this Lenten season, fasting will not be the only sacrifice they are planning to make.
“Most people think that fasting is a matter related to food, to what kind of food to eat or to avoid. I believe that it has to do with what comes out of our mouth, not with what enters it: this is what Jesus tells us in the Bible.”
“We should not worry about what goes into our stomach, but how we should talk and act towards our brothers. This is the true fast.”
“I usually smoke, but during Lent, I stop smoking. There are sacrifices we offer and we make to share in the suffering of Jesus. We live in the Holy Land and therefore we should follow in Jesus’ footsteps.”