Lenten journey with Jesus

Christian Lent always begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Palm Sunday, which opens the door to Holy Week.

It is a 40-day journey of fasting, prayer, meditation and sharing, in memory of the 40 days Christ spent in the desert, under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:12-13, Mt 4:1-1, Lk 4:1-13).

This retreat of Jesus into the desert echoes the 40 days and 40 nights of Moses on Mount Sinai where he received the two tablets of the Law (Ex 24:18), his fasting of 40 days and 40 nights to intercede for Israel who had sinned gravely in making and worshipping the golden calf (Deut 9:18. 25), to the 40 years of wandering of the Hebrews in the desert (between Egypt and the Promised Land; Ex 24:18) and finally to the 40 days of the prophet Elijah’s walk to meet God on Mount Horeb (1Ki 19:8).

Christian Lent cannot therefore be conceived without reference to the experience of Christ himself, who withdrew into the desert, moved by the Spirit, for a tête-à-tête with the Father, thereby inscribing himself in the tradition of his ancestors, who are also our ancestors in the faith.

It is the intensification of the search for God, a better disposition to listen to God, an increased openness to the Other that allows us to find ourselves and to better open ourselves to others for a better living together that flourishes and contributes to the harmony of creation that are at the heart of Christian Lent.

Christian Lent is therefore a privileged moment for every disciple of Christ to examine the quality of his or her relationship with God by the yardstick of his or her assiduity in listening to the Word, his or her prayer life, and his or her concern for his or her neighbour.

Lord, with you we shall go into the desert, driven as you are by the Spirit…
Lord, with you we will go into the desert to taste the presence of God!
Lord, with you we will go into the desert to eat the Word of God!
Lord, with you we will go into the desert to choose our God!
Lord, with you we will live in the desert, 40 days, 40 nights, in the strength of God!

Father Jean-Baptiste Vérité K. KPODZO,
Member of the pastoral team of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal


Painting: Christ in the Desert by Ivan Kramskoi (1872)