…The priest sheds light on the significance of the Season
By Olivia Obijiaku
Associate Parish Priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Rev Fr Patrick Bako Zichiyang enlightened the faithful on the spiritual benefits of the Season of Lent on Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, when he presided over the third Mass of Ash Wednesday in the parish at 5pm.
He explained that Lent is a moment of reconciliation with God and neighbor and called for full active participation on the forty days Lenten journey of self purgation.
“There is significance in whatever the Church does.” The priest said. “Lent is an expression that life is not all about eating and drinking. It is a journey of forty days where we beg God to forgive us; revive us; bless us and to keep us close to His heart. Lent is a moment we need to ask ourselves, ‘what have been doing that is causing problems in our families, the Church and the society.”
“On Palm Sunday, we were given fresh palm fronds to take home and in the first few days, they begin to fade away as time unfolds; they get dry and some particles fall off them. This is our story as human beings, we are mortals. Time will come when we will fade away and the only person to refresh us with life is Jesus who is life Himself as He said in John 14:6. This fading away calls us to humility and constant rrepentance. This is part of the reason the Church tells us to return our palm fronds. It is not the palm that you are returning in the real sense of it, it is yourself that you are returning to God to revive you, wash you clean and to refresh your life in taking away your burdens for you must have gone astray. So if you don’t return your fronds, what will the Master use for your miracle of revival and healing? We must take our faith seriously.”
“When we return the palms we are brining every burden from our homes to Jesus so that as the Church burns the dry palms, they go into the sacrifice that is lifted up to the heavens for our healing. Jesus is the burden bearer as seen in Matt. 11:28-30, “come to me all who are burdened.” He wants us to return with all our sorrows so that He will wash us clean and by Easter, we will be resurrected with new life, new testimony, new vision and transformed.”
Fr Zichiyang conditioned that those who fail to forgive their transgressors and those who failed to be repentant observe the season in vain. He then charged them to make room for repentance and reconciliation so that their fasting, prayer, and alsmgiving will be acceptable before God. “If you know you are not ready to forgive or be repentant, don’t waste your time in fasting, praying and alms giving for such will be an abomination before God as seen in Matthew 6:33” said the priest.