Be Opened!
Lent Reflection
Father Luis Manuel Guanipa, St. Monica Parish, Carpentersville, Parochial vicar
March 16, 2023
We started this holy season of Lent with the signs of ashes, fasting, and prayer. This season, the Church summons all its children to live with a renewed spirituality that makes us burn with love for Christ. 
Christ’s word “Ephphatha” (Mk 7:34) should resound in us when we are in the “School of the Gospel” — that is what I like to call our Eucharistic spaces. This word shows us how to actualize the message of that reading: when the Lord opened the heart of the deaf and mute man and gave light to his life.
“Ephphatha” means be opened! Jesus addressed those words not just to the ears and mouth, but to the whole person. Be opened to listen to the Word of God. Be opened to practice the works of mercy. Be opened to fulfill the commandments of God’s law. 
This Lent I urge you to live the teachings of the Church: that you serve and not just fast; that you not only do penance but also practice patience — not only prayer, but also heart. May these be words of life for your faith.
All the liturgy of Lent is marked with symbols that put us on the Christian path towards conversion, symbols like the desert, light, health, water, forgiveness, liberation, the Cross, and the Resurrection.
When we were baptized, our ears and tongue were blessed so that we could hear the voice of God and praise Him. Faith comes from listening, says St. Paul. And a Christian not only listens, but has the courage to confess his faith, to speak of God.
I ask the Lord to renew the gift you received: a new faith to let you find the God who wants to save you. 
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