03/13/2020, 17.36
Send to a friend

A priest during Lent in India

by Susai Sebastian

The vicar general of the Archdiocese of Delhi explains the significance of the period that leads to the resurrection of Christ. Conversion is a lifelong process. One must change one's life to resemble Jesus. The recent sectarian violence in the capital is like Christ’s crucifixion when he “continues to suffer in the suffering of his children.”


New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Lent is a time when "I need to die; my selfishness and my sin must succumb. Resurrection thus means coming into a new life. I become a new person and a new creation,” said Fr Susai Sebastian, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Delhi, speaking to AsiaNews.

In what follows, he talks about what it means to be a priest during Lent, helping people to overcome the umpteenth "crucifixion of Christ", symbolically embodied in the latest anti-Muslim riots that followed the recent amendment to India’s citizenship legislation.

I would like to talk about what it means to be a priest during Lent.

Lent is a time of renewal, fasting, prayer and embracing others. Some aspects of Christian life mark the period of Lent, which leads to conversion, understood not only as baptism and growth in the Christian life, but also as a lifelong process, a personal experience of Jesus who wants life, every moment of our life. We must accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and He shall guide every moment and aspect of our life.

Jesus thus becomes the personal Teacher and Lord of my life, and I must listen to his wisdom that turns to and speaks to me with the Word of God and the Bible. He speaks to me when I preach in church and when I celebrate Mass. This makes me grow in resembling Jesus himself. In the end, it is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: " So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” hence, have compassion as God is compassionate.

Jesus himself was compassionate. He was the face of the compassionate Father. The more I experience Jesus, the more intensely I always return to him. I change my life to resemble Jesus in order to be loving, caring and forgiving.

This is what I have to experience during Lent. In doing so, a death process begins: every day I need to die; my selfishness and my sin must succumb. Resurrection thus means coming into a new life. I become a new person and a new creation; by the same token, I become a new creation by welcoming Jesus into my life through baptism.

Thus, Lent is renewal, but also the way by which the Church reminds us all not to forget the fundamental values ​​of our Christian faith which are: repentance, forgiveness, praying, fasting, embracing others through works of charity.

For this reason, the recent riots in Delhi have left us shocked and saddened. Human beings have become so cruel to other human beings that they have forgotten God's teaching that we are all brothers and sisters. Our task as Christians is to generate peace and harmony among people, as God was so caring to us that he sacrificed his Son. This is what the Archbishop of Delhi Anil J Couto did when he met in prayer with other religious leaders. What happens during Lent is nothing less than the [symbolic] crucifixion of Jesus as he continues to die because of violence.

On 5 April, Palm Sunday, the Archdiocese will hold the annual Way of the Cross along the streets of the capital. Thousands of people will carry the cross in procession for about seven kilometres to the heart of the city. We will stop at the 14 stations to pray for the current situation, fir it is Jesus who continues to suffer in the suffering of his children. We will hold a special prayer for all coronavirus victims, in particular for Italy, which has been badly affected.

 (A.C.F. contributed to this article)

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Way of the Cross pilgrimage from Wewala to Calvary chapel brings parishioners together (photos)
27/03/2019 16:02
Negombo: this Lent a thousand children take part in Via Crucis
The Way of the Cross, the 'filth' in the Church and the 'decay' of ideologies
Catholics and Muslims united by a Cross
Pope: Way of the Cross in a silent and deserted St Peter's Square
10/04/2020 10:14


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”