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Pope’s Lenten Message

Pope Francis reading message

Pope Francis’ Lenten message for 2024, Through the Desert God Leads Us to Freedom echoes the theme of freedom and liberation found in the Exodus story. He reminds believers that God’s message is always one of freedom, as seen in the words given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The call to freedom, however, is not an immediate answer but a journey of maturation. Like the Israelites in the desert longing for their past in Egypt, today’s people can also cling to oppressive forces that hinder true freedom. Lent is a season of grace where the desert of our lives becomes a place of encountering God’s love and experiencing a Passover from death to life.

The Pope emphasizes the importance of opening our eyes to reality, much like God did when He heard the cries of His people in Egypt. Today, the cries of oppressed brothers and sisters rise to heaven, challenging us to ask if we hear, are troubled sisters and brothers, and moved to action. Lent becomes concrete when we confront the modern-day Pharaohs that keep us weary and indifferent, such as systems of oppression and the pollution of our souls and environment. The call to leave behind compromises with the old and embrace a new world of justice and fraternity rings clear.

Pope Francis calls for actions of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting not as isolated acts but as a unified movement of openness and self-emptying. This Lenten season invites a pause in our busy lives to encounter God in prayer and our neighbour in love. He urges Christian communities to make communal decisions that counter the prevailing norms, transforming lives and neighbourhoods. As Lent becomes a time of conversion, the Pope sees a burst of creativity and hope on the horizon, inviting believers to have the courage to see the world not in its death throes but at the beginning of a great new chapter of history. In this journey from slavery to freedom, faith and charity take hope by the hand, guiding us forward into a promised land of renewed faith and fraternity.