Bishop Banda’s Homily on Ash Wednesday – 2018.
Today, we begin our Lenten Season with a call to change, a change in our personal life, a change in our family life and a change in our societal life.
A change in our life is all that God wishes from each one of us this season.
Going through the corridors of Scripture, we note God asking for a change: change in behaviour, change in attitudes, and change in relationships with one another. We are called to repentance, conversion and change of heart. That is the more reason Jesus started his ministry by calling for change. Repent and believe the good news (Mk.1:15).
As we journey through this Lenten Season the Church invites us to have this change – a change of heart. In this journey we will have to walk with Jesus to Calvary on the Good Friday and will rise with Him on Easter. Unless we are ready to change ourselves the paschal mysteries will have no effect in our lives.
The change we want to experience in our life must begin with our change of heart. In His counsel Jesus was categorical on the Laws of purity, namely: what comes from inside makes the person pure or impure (cf. Mk. 7:14). Therefore change must begin from within. It should begin with our thinking. The attitudes we have towards ourselves and others must be changed first so that there will be a corresponding change in our lives.
The change must be supported with change of actions. Merely making a confession of one’s mistakes does not make the change of heart complete. But to act accordingly, substantiating the change that has taken place. The change must be enjoyed. Very often we fail to continue in our changed life as we don’t enjoy the change. We, at least in our subconscious still enjoy the life that we led before we embraced the change. It is like the people of Israel who complained of the rich foods they had left in Egypt. Despite the freedom from slavery in Egypt they made their life miserable by thinking of the enjoyments they had in Egypt.
Lent is a period of invitation, invitation to change with corresponding behaviours of change. Let us change the way we think of others, the way we behave with our families, the way we relate with one another wherever we are found. We need change; because, this is the acceptable time and now is the day of salvation (cf. 2 Cor. 6:2).