What God wants – what Jesus wants
During Lent, all Christians, young and old, are invited to take the time to think about what God wants from us, and to remember how Jesus carried out His Father’s plan wholeheartedly, right up to His death on the cross. Today, Jesus is inviting you, too, to do what God the Father wants. He shows us how we can do this in many different ways.
This year, Jesus is drawing our attention to something that is definitely cherished by children: the family – the environment in which you live.
We are all aware of the fact that not everyone is surrounded by the love of a family. In fact, we know that nowadays there is an increase in the number of children who are suffering because of the difficulties faced by adults in married life. This is a cause of concern for those who would like to get married and keep on loving each other, because they are afraid that they, too, will experience these problems.
We should look upon this year as a special opportunity given by Jesus to those who believe in Him. He is reminding us of the beauty of the love which a man and a woman offer to each other in marriage, and which is then passed on to their children. Jesus does this through His Word, the Bible, which is a map that helps us distinguish what is right and what is wrong.
What God wants
When we were baptised, we became children of God and young members of the Church. In order to help us remain on the right track, Jesus gave us His Word, which tells us that since the very beginning of time, God showed His deep care for us by creating the beautiful world in which we life. The human person turned away from God through sin, but God continued loving man, and He revealed this love in a special way when He sent His Son Jesus. Everything that God made was good, and He loved us so much that He created us in His image.
God has shown us how to care for the natural environment, but we do not always listen to Him. Very often, we dirty the environment by littering, wasting things, not taking care of things… When we do this, we are not helping to create a healthy environment. On the same note, what did God do in order to help us build beautiful families? God created man and woman and wanted them to become one flesh in marriage. But this does not always happen. If the adults do not look after and cherish their love, it may come to an end and this causes great suffering to them and to their children, because the adults cannot continue passing on their full love to the children. Hence, when God created man and woman, He told them to continue loving each other forever, and give birth to their children through this love.
God loved us so much that He left it up to us to choose what is right. This is what He did with the first persons, Adam and Eve. He gave them freedom, and loved them so much that He gave them the responsibility not to do what was wrong. This is the meaning of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that is mentioned in Genesis. And this is the choice we must make even today. The human person may choose to do what God wants, or he may choose what he wants.
Even you children have the responsibility to choose between right and wrong. But do keep in mind that when you choose what is wrong, God will always ask you in your heart: “Why have you chosen what is wrong?” And you have to give an answer to this in your heart. This is what happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned; God appeared to them and asked them why they had not done what He had asked of them.
What Jesus wants
It is not easy to choose what is good in a world that offers so much that is evil, and this is why God sent Jesus to show us that we should always do what is right, just as Jesus did. Jesus told us to love one another, but we all know how hard it is to love. Jesus gave everything for us, even His own life on the cross. He was always ready to forgive; He was generous; He was patient. If we want our love to remain strong, it must be similar to the love shown by Jesus.
Children, you are aware of the fact that at the moment we are going through a difficult time because of the issue of divorce, that is, when two married people decide to leave each other and marry someone else. You are not responsible for the decisions which adults take. However, I am very concerned about you because I know that you may suffer because of what adults decide. Hence, I am asking you to pray a lot, particularly at this point in time, so that adults may always base their decisions on what Jesus wants.
After the sin of Adam and Eve, God planned to draw the human race back to Him. This was why He sent Jesus to proclaim the forgiveness which God was offering to all sinners, so that they could do what was right. This is what Jesus did with the woman who was caught in sin and was going to be stoned – He forgave her and told her to sin no more. We must all try to act like Jesus. When you see other children doing what is wrong, do not avoid them, but show them love and help them to turn back to what is right. And in a special way, we must show love to all children who are suffering because of family problems.
Children, I am asking you to keep Lent special. I am going to make a few suggestions how this can be done:
- Seek out Jesus in prayer every day, especially through Mass;
- Make sacrifices so that you can grow strong and not give in to what is wrong;
- Try to show greater love within your family by showing more respect to your parents and to your brothers and sisters;
- Do not be afraid to do what is right when you are with your friends.
I cannot imagine a more beautiful way to live Lent than by giving our contribution so that there will be more good in the world. Thus the world will become more like the world created by God at the beginning of time.
I give you my pastoral blessing.
+ PAUL CREMONA O.P.
Archbishop of Malta
Click here to view the Pastoral Letter for Children on Youtube: