The Parish Priest speaks...

My dear parishioners,

For Valentine’s Day or Ash Wednesday!

This month of February is considered most special. The church begins the season of repentance, renewal, a change in our thinking, sacrifice and love which is considered most essential. It is the season of Lent. It’s a season where God’s bountiful mercy and love is manifested through the obedience of His Son Jesus.

This year on the same day, ie Ash Wednesday, everyone is on an agenda of Valentine’s Day. Flowers, Candy red hearts and romance. That’s what most consider Valentine’s Day to be. But where does the origin lie? Has anyone thought about it? it’s about a Saint known as St. Valentine of Rome. He was a Roman Priest at the time when Emperor Claudias persecuted the church.

It was a very permissive (liberal) society in which Valentine lived, where polygamy was very much popular then, just a woman and a man living together. The church obviously thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for life and St. Valentine made it his mission to help couples secretly to get married, although the Emperor would not encourage it. St. Valentine helped many Christians who had been persecuted by the king for their marriage. He was put under trial for helping Christians and one of the men who was supposed to judge him in line with the Roman Law at the time, was called Asterius. Judge Asterius put Valentine’s Christian faith to the ultimate test. He had a blind daughter, If Valentine could heal his daughter, he would release him. Valentine prayed over the girl in Jesus’s name and the girl’s sight was restored. Not only was he released. In addition, judge Asterius became a Christian. The story is, that Valentine before his death sent a message to Asterius daughter signing “from your Valentine”. This brief message is today used by lovers. Well friends, Valentine’s Day commemorates the love that Valentine had for God and his precepts. Today’s time and age has given a very distorted meaning to Valentine’s Day. But Jesus in his word directly warns us about serving two masters at the same time. (Mathew 6:24)

This Valentine’s Day and month let’s concentrate on a few points on our relationship with God especially since Valentine‘s Day falls on Ash Wednesday. In your Mobile you must have read the what’s App message stating that this year Valentine’s Day (14/02/2018) coincides with Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday

falls on April Fool’s Day (01/04/2018). It says that this year is going to be a weird year to us. Do such connections influence our thinking so much that it gives direction to our life? Isn’t it God who gives a direction and destination to our lives?

It is in this context that I wish to invite you to reflect on the following:

a) Ash Wednesday is a very important. Liturgical Day that invites us to enter whole heartedly into the season of Lent. This is a period of 40 days that encourages and motivates us to begin seriously reform of our lives, through deeper prayer, penance and acts of love and mercy.

Am I ready to sacrifice the outward and worldly way of Valentine’s Day of celebrations? What is my gain if I give more importance to Ash Wednesday? And what will be my loss if I skip the occasion of worldly celebration of Valentine’s Day, which has only a romantic value!

Jesus in His Word directly warns us about serving two masters (Mt.6, 24)

The way we celebrate Ash Wednesday or Valentine’ day will be the test of our commitment to Jesus.

Fr. Avinash Rebello
Parish Priest

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