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Fr Gerard’s Reflection Apr 5, 2024

Second Sunday of Easter
Fr Gerard Lai
Fr Gerard Lai

Lenten Learnings

Happy Easter one and all! I hope that you have had a joy-filled Easter. As I write this, I reflect on my own journey leading up to Easter which started as we commenced the Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. I thought it was rather appropriate that on Valentine’s Day, a day of Love, Lent should also begin, as Lent prepares us for Easter, a day in which Jesus revealed his unconditional love for us.

This Lent, I embraced a few disciplines: giving up chocolate, lollies, alcohol and snacking; and took on sleeping earlier, minimalizing screen time and regular exercise. Honestly, I took it pretty seriously and was fairly successful. However, as I sit here, just a few days after Easter, I think I have eaten more chocolate over 3 days than I would have eaten over the 40-days of Lent, had I not given it up. This got me thinking: what is the purpose of Lent? And what are the fruits of my Lenten journey? Disciplines are supposed to make you a better person, and not make you bitter, angry and miserable. As with all goal-setting and life changes, they should be small and gradual, otherwise you’ll find yourself running out of steam and relapsing. So make a plan and observe yourself; consider it a self-experiment and become very curious about it all. Discipline is as much about self-knowledge in the process as it is about the end-result. Did you accidentally eat meat on a Friday in Lent? Did you forget to pray? Did you lose your temper or judge another person? Well that’s okay. You can’t turn back time, but you can change the future, so take it
as a key learning and move on.

Have you taken on a habit in Lent that you want to make a bigger part of your life? All power to you! Take Easter as a checkpoint, like video games where your progress saves and your character restarts at the “checkpoint” when you fail. Perhaps that’s how you could see life and its various milestones: as a series of checkpoints, towards the ultimate Easter – heaven.

In this journey, we aim to develop self-mastery and try and become the best versions of ourselves. Have you given in to vices and temptations? Have you sinned? Have you fallen over? Well, that’s okay, pick yourself up, grow from it. Take it as a learning opportunity and move on. Sometimes we can imprison ourselves in our own internal court room, caught in the vicious cycle of shame and regret. That’s okay, just start again. You only have today anyway. Jesus doesn’t condemn us and neither should you condemn yourself (Jn 8:11). Jesus came to set us free, Jesus came to give us an example to live by, Jesus said “I came that you might have life and have it to the full!” (Jn 10:10). This Sunday celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. So, if you’ve messed up (and let’s face it, we all do) then run to God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. Let the supernatural graces wash over you as you start afresh. And as you continue your pilgrimage on life’s way, may the blessings of the risen Jesus empower you towards your goals.

Pilgrim well,
Fr Gerard



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