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Lent an invitation to ‘be where Jesus is’ - Malaysian cardinal

Cardinal Sebastian Francis, in his Online Lenten Recollection for Radio Veritas Asia.

A Malaysian bishop reflects on how the Lenten season serves as an invitation to be where Jesus is.

In his Online Lenten Recollection for Radio Veritas Asia, live-streamed on February 21, Cardinal Sebastian Francis said that emulating Jesus’ 40-day retreat to the desert is one way to make Lent fruitful and meaningful.

“The Holy Spirit is inviting us to be where Jesus is, and that is to be with the desert with Him and the Holy Spirit. What’s going to happen there? We will be going to enter into a deeper desire to pray with Him,” he said.

The bishop of Penang said that we respond to the call of the Holy Spirit by embracing repentance, which liberates us from sin and allows us to experience the joy of the Gospel.

This Lenten season, Cardinal Francis also reminded the faithful to focus on works of mercy and compassion, which he described as actions that are dear to Asian spirituality.

He even mentioned that other Asians who are not Catholic are also performing these penances, particularly Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims, creating a distinctive sense of spiritual unity in the region.

“Fasting, prayer, and penance is very much part of [Asian] spirituality,” he said, “When we do it, we are not doing it alone. There are many Asians who make fasting and prayer part of their spirituality [and their] lives. This is not new to us in Asia.”

“I invite all: rich and poor, young and old, to get into this movement [and] journey of Lent and Holy Week,” he said.

Furthermore, Cardinal Francis also expressed his joy in receiving the adult catechumens being prepared for the Sacrament of Baptism at the Easter Vigil.

“I wish to welcome and embrace you into the arms of Mother Church, the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ,” he said.

Watch the entirety of Cardinal Francis’ Online Lenten Recollection here

Cardinal Francis’ Online Lenten Recollection

Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.