End ‘Dictatorship’ of the Superficial: Pope at Lent’s Start
Lent marks a period that can include fasting, prayer and works of charity in preparation for Easter, which this year is on April 9.
During the service, ashes were sprinkled on Francis’ bowed head while a choir sang hymns.
Lent is the time to “drop the pretense of being self-sufficient and the need to put ourselves at the center of things, to be the top of the class, to think that by our own abilities we can succeed in life and transform the world around us,” the pope said in his homily.
“The ashes we receive this evening tell us that every presumption of self-sufficiency is false and that self-idolatry is destructive, imprisoning us in isolation and loneliness,” he said.
Instead, Lent serves “to remind ourselves that the world is bigger than our narrow personal needs, and to rediscover the joy, not of accumulating material goods, but of caring for those who are poor and afflicted,” Francis said.
“Let us…take stock of ourselves, to free ourselves from the dictatorship of heavy schedules, crowded agendas and superficial needs, and choose the things that truly matter,” the pontiff said.
In his homily, Francis circled back to an overarching theme of his nearly 10-year-old papacy — attention to the individuality of those in need, particularly the poor.
“Alms-giving is not a hasty gesture performed to ease our conscience,’’ the pope said. ”Rather, it is a way of touching the sufferings of the poor with our own hands and heart.”
Holy Week services, starting on April 2 with Palm Sunday and including the traditional Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum, draw large crowds of pilgrims and tourists to Rome and the Vatican.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.