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2024 Lenten Message

2024 Lenten Message

“Master, don’t you care? We are going down” (Mk. 4:39)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ and people of goodwill. Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

Once again, we are privileged with the Season of Lent, a time of intensified prayer, a period of fasting and a time of almsgiving. Our Season of Lent this year comes at the tail end of the worst Cholera outbreak in many years.

The outbreak claimed many lives of our people and left trails of emotional, mental and spiritual distress. There has been a challenge with information management of the sick and subsequently the dead, who have been buried anonymously and without a funeral.

Coupled with the foregoing is our endemic high cost of living, the looming hunger on the horizon and indeed the malice of our political elite. This scenario sends shivers to our faith, it questions our safety and indeed it threatens our sense of security. As we dread the obvious, God seems absent, if anything passive and indifferent to our situation of need.

God’s supposedly absence, passivity and indifference reveals something deeper than what meets the eye, our real fear and our real worry. We are afraid about ourselves than the circumstances surrounding us. We are worried about our own vulnerability and our own powerlessness. And this is what agitates and tempers us from within. This fear disorients us and beats us against our faith, and threatens our sense of security and safety.

In the Gospel passage of the calming of the storm, Jesus seems absent, passive, and uncaring. While the disciples fret and worry about the storm, Jesus is asleep. He sleeps in peace and stillness. However, when He wakes up, He commands the wind and the sea, saying: “Peace! Be still!” (cf. Mk 4: 35-41).

In speaking to the wind and the sea, Jesus is not changing the weather, however, He is inviting the disciples to change. He is speaking to the wind and the waves within them. The disciples have been pointing to what is going on outside of themselves. Jesus now points to what is going on inside of them, as He says, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mk. 4: 40).

Certainly, we may be distressed emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We may even entertain the thought that God does not care about our predicament. However, God cares deeply, and He responds to our cries for help. But He does so in ways that we do not expect; in ways that we do not understand, and in ways that we do not know.

Yet, God is always present with us. He is with us in times of apprehension, in times of fear, and in times of helplessness. He is with us in times of disappointment and in times of death. However, we need the eyes of faith to recognize His hand at work in the seemingly distressful events of our life.

In the face of apprehension, fear and helplessness, Jesus calls us to faith. Jesus’ words are more about us than the circumstances of our lives. What we need is faith, more faith, better faith, and stronger faith, the right kind of faith which does not eliminate the storms of our lives but the faith that changes us to face our storms head-on and crossover.

Each day is therefore, an invitation to respond in faith to God’s loving initiative which transcends the limits and weaknesses that make up our life. With faith we are able to recognize the hand of God at work that has overcome the powers of darkness and evil in the world.

May this Lenten Season be an opportunity to grow stronger in our faith, as we pray for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Child Jesus and our Lady of Lusaka. Given this at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus, this 14th February – Ash Wednesday in the Year of our Lord 2024, Seventeenth of our Episcopate.

Most Rev. Dr. Alick Banda
Archbishop of Lusaka


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