By Josh Low
Fasting, praying and giving alms in order to reach out to God was the focus of Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe SDB’s homily for Ash Wednesday this week.
Some 150 people were present for the 8am Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral to hear the Archbishop place an emphasis on fasting and self-denial in the Lenten season.
Archbishop Costelloe said the call to prayer, fasting and giving alms came from Jesus himself, adding that it should not be done for show.
“Jesus talks about giving alms, about praying and about fasting. However, very importantly He invites us to make sure that these practices are not undertaken so that people will be impressed by how holy we are.
“Rather, He tells us to fast, pray and give alms in secret. We are not doing them for show, but to reach out to God in prayer, to reach out to others in charity and to reach out to our own deepest selves through fasting and self-denial,” he said.
The Archbishop said that in a way, our willingness to engage in these acts will show how seriously we take this period of Lent in the lead up to Easter.
“Our lives are very busy; we all have lots of commitments, lots of worries, perhaps even lots of fears – about ourselves, about our families, about the future.
“The danger is that we can get so caught up in all these things that we forget about the most important thing – or rather the most important person – God,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe followed by issuing an invitation to all to return Christ to being the focus of our lives.
“Become during Lent a person of deeper prayer. Become a person who reaches out to those in need with practical help.
“Become a person who lets go of excesses so that there is room again in your life for God.
“Return to the Lord your God again. If we accept this invitation, offered to us this morning, then we will arrive at Easter in six weeks’ time ready to rejoice; not only that Jesus rose from the dead, but that we too have entered into a new and fuller life with him,” he concluded.