“And Your Father will Reward You” – Lenten Letter 2021

Diocese of Thunder Bay Crest

Lent 2021
“And your Father will reward you”

These words are taken from the Gospel of St. Matthew which we hear each Ash Wednesday. The Gospel notes: ‘Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” I think these words are most appropriate as we begin this Lenten season during this time of pandemic. During these last weeks we have been asked to be safe, and to stay at home in order to avoid catching or spreading the Covid-19 virus. So much of our praying these days has been at home with our families.

Being at home has its challenges, but it does not mean that we cannot share in the season of Lent with some significant gestures. Of course we can maintain some family prayer, the rosary, meal prayers, or even the Stations of the Cross, and some solitary prayer as the Gospel encourages. During Lent we can read the passion of Jesus in any of the Gospels to recall the great love of the Lord expressed through His suffering and death. We can also make sure we remember the poor and the needy during these 40 days by contributing to our favourite charity or helping out in a soup kitchen. Besides helping a charity we can turn our attention to those at home who might be struggling with this pandemic and isolation. A call to an elderly friend, or a call to a neighbour just to touch base, would be a good Lenten gesture. Maybe we can send a card, or write a note, or send a text message, or FaceTime someone, during Lent to make sure people are not feeling alone.

Lent is a time for prayer, that is true, but prayer can also be expressed in our outreach to our neighbour or someone in need. As we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 25. “And the king (Jesus) will answer them: truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Both our prayer and our outreach give praise and worship to God.

May our time during this Lenten period, be a time for reflection, a time for personal prayer, a time for a deepening of our relationship with Jesus, and a time for reconciliation with God and with one another. The gestures do not need to be great and bold, but only sincere and genuine, for as the Gospel notes:
“and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Bishop Fred J. Colli
Bishop of Thunder Bay