For Mgr Arshad, Lent is a time to embrace our daily crosses
by Shafique Khokhar

The bishop of Faisalabad issues a message on our preparation for Easter. He addresses young people who are hardest pressed in finding jobs, facing the economic crisis, and integrating into society. He calls on people to follow Christ’s example: his death and resurrection gave meaning to "our daily crosses".


Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Mgr Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad and president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, issued his Lent message, “a period of penitence and reflection.”

At this time, “Jesus invites us to take up our cross, or rather, the crosses of every day, without seeking easy solutions,” the bishop writes. The Lord “invites us to accept the crosses in a spirit of faith, offering Him our crosses. Jesus' words also remind us that, by embracing our crosses, we can be closer to Him on the cross."

Addressing young people "who carry many crosses, of various kinds: the difficulty of finding a job, the economic crisis, the bitterness of not being fully taken into account in society, etc.”, he explains that these daily "crosses" do “not mean passive giving in the face of difficulties."

On the contrary, for him, " the cross of Jesus is certainly the light and strength to support our efforts [. . .] It means that with the hope that He who rose, we too shall experience a new dawn of light and resurrection."

For Mgr Arshad, the holy period of Lent is the "right time to make the right decisions. [. . .] the Word of God helps us carry and understand our crosses in daily life. These find meaning in the death and resurrection of Christ.”

“Therefore, along with our daily crosses we are invited to convert and make a new beginning by doing good deeds through acts of almsgiving, fasting and prayer because they help us carry out our daily crosses and grow in our spiritual life.”

The president of the Justice and Peace Commission goes on to say that in today's world "evil forces are vibrant and sin everywhere is weakening the soul of every human being." This is visible in Pakistan, "where the devil wants to shorten the lives of people through terrorism and various addictions that are a great threat to human life."

People, he notes, "are scared to go to public places due to bombings. It seems that human beings are slowly removing God from their lives and forgetting his immense love and goodness.”

In view of this, the bishop notes that Jesus provides the example to overcome courageously temptations and evil.

Jesus, he writes, “spent 40 days in desert in order to overcome the devil and faced his temptation with great courage. Jesus has shown us how to fight ungodly forces and worldly temptations and we as Christians must not compromise anything when it comes to Gospel values.”

Lastly, “Lent is the time to renounce all evil forces [. . .]. May God lead us to a conversion of the heart so that this Lenten season is all of us a time of growth in our faith, worthily preparing ourselves for the Feast of Easter.”

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