Lent 2024

“Through the Desert God Leads us to Freedom” is the title of Pope Francis’ message for this Lent.

Pope Francis reflects on the theme of freedom and God’s pedagogy, drawing inspiration from the verse in Exodus “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex 20:2). It emphasises that God continues to educate his people, guiding them towards liberation from oppressive bonds:

“Lent is the season of grace in which the desert can become once more – in the words of the prophet Hosea – the place of our first love (cf. Hos 2:16-17). God shapes his people, he enables us to leave our slavery behind and experience a Passover from death to life. Like a bridegroom, the Lord draws us once more to himself, whispering words of love to our hearts”.

First of all, it is necessary to want to see reality, says the Pontiff: “Today too, the cry of so many of our oppressed brothers and sisters rises to heaven. Let us ask ourselves: Do we hear that cry? Does it trouble us? Does it move us? All too many things keep us apart from each other, denying the fraternity that, from the beginning, binds us to one another”.

The Pope also encourages us to have a “desire for a new world” rather than remain imprisoned in “hopelessness”. Taking his cue from the liberation of the chosen people in Egypt, the Pope emphasised that “Unlike Pharaoh, God does not want subjects, but sons and daughters. The desert is the place where our freedom can mature in a personal decision not to fall back into slavery. In Lent, we find new criteria of justice and a community with which we can press forward on a road not yet taken”.

Finally, Pope Francis proposes to the communities committed to the synodal path to make Lent “a time of communitarian decisions, of decisions, small and large, that are countercurrent. Decisions capable of altering the daily lives of individuals and entire neighbourhoods, such as the ways we acquire goods, care for creation, and strive to include those who go unseen or are looked down upon. I invite every Christian community to do just this: to offer its members moments set aside to rethink their lifestyles, times to examine their presence in society and the contribution they make to its betterment”.

Holy Father’s Message for Lent 2024

Resources of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development


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