The forty days of Lent are offered to God in imitation of Jesus, who, as today’s Gospel tells us, was “led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, where he was tempted by the devil.” Jesus chose to rely on the care of his Father, to surrender himself as a servant, to the will and plan of his Father, and to follow God’s will in Jerusalem-even if that meant terrible suffering, and a shameful death on the cross.
Lent has always been one of the key periods of the Church’s year, and it would be a great pity if we were to forget its real meaning. This is what we ask for in the opening prayer of today’s Mass. “Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of your Son’s death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives.” The whole purpose of Lent is beautifully summarised in that prayer-to understand the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, and live that out in our own lives. If, in past years, we let Lent go by, largely unnoticed, let this year be different. Let it be a second spring in our lives. Let it mean something in our discipleship with Christ.