“Season of Conversion”
By Father Frank Hernandez
The season of Lent in the church is a time for us to reflect on the passion and death of Jesus and are reminded of the plan of salvation from the Lord. That Jesus had to suffer on the cross for us to receive our salvation. To correct the original sin of Adam and Eve, so that we can be reunited with the Lord and the gates of heaven can be opened again.
These 40 days are sacred to us because we are called to evaluate our lives and see how we have failed the Lord, others and even ourselves. This is a season of conversion in the church and some do have a conversion and try to do better. For some, this is just another time on the calendar and in the church, but lent will be different this year. Last year we began this season together in the church, but then the pandemic started in our community and we were forced to close our doors for the safety of all. Confusing us, living with fear and wondering where is the Lord in all of this. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since the pandemic started and we are still struggling to express our faith. We have not been able to gather as we normally would on Sundays, but with limited capacity; not be able to pray our devotionals as a community or not be able to embrace one another at the death of a loved one, member of our community.
Yet, this pandemic should not stop us from living our faith. Just because we are not able to gather normally in the church during Lent, it should not stop us from following our Lenten traditions. We can still follow the same traditions individually and at home with our families. How can this season of Lent still have that same spirit of conversion in our lives? How can we still make this a special season in our homes and hearts? The tradition of giving something up, sacrificing something we like. We can still follow that sacrifice this season, we can still live that part of our faith. Also, how can we help strangers, those who need our help. This is one of the important parts of Lent, assisting those who are hungry, poor or alone. We can also fast, not eating too much food to feel the same hunger as members of the community who do not have their daily bread to share in their suffering, struggles.
This season does not stop just because of the pandemic, it continues in our lives and in the church. Yes, this Lent will be different, but it is still a season of conversion for us. I hope this season help us to improve our relationship with God, Jesus and our neighbor and not let this pandemic change our faith and the trust we have in God our Father.