Fake news tell lies and deceive people for money and power. Government scams expose people’s greed for money and power. Drug war promotes control of others for the sake of money and power. Quoting Matthew 24:12 Pope calls these as forms of iniquity, a symbol of moral winter when loving hearts are being frozen into uncaring life.
As we begin the 40 days of Lent in preparation for Holy Week which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14 this year, it might help us and others to bring about a moral warming from present moral winter mentioned in last week’s Shalom. This can be done through a new understanding of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
The Pope says “devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deceptions, and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and He wants us to live life well.” Fake news are based on secret lies and self-deceptions.
It is the Pope’s wish that almsgiving becomes “a genuine style of life for each of us.” He gives four reasons: 1) it “sets us free from greed;” 2) “helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother and a sister;” 3) requests for assistance should be seen “as coming from God himself;” 4) by giving alms, “we share in God’s providential care for each of his children.” He believes that God who cannot be outdone in generosity will surely provide for our needs. Scammers in government please listen to Pope Francis.
Our Holy Father believes that “fasting weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth” for two reasons: 1) “it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure; 2) “it expresses our spiritual hunger and thirst for God”… waking us up, making us more attentive to God and neighbour, and reviving our desire to obey God “who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.” We pray for those engaged in the war on drugs. He invites non-Catholics to join us.
Finally the pope urges “the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer.”
As an example of moral and spiritual global warming Pope Francis reminds of “The fire of Easter” symbolized by the Easter vigil rituals of blessed fire and lighted candle representing the Risen Lord.
Believing in the grace of the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative as a preparation for Easter Vigil, the Pope asks that on Friday March 9 to Saturday March 10, “In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for 24 consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.”