This week Christians, who follow the Julian calendar, begin their holy fast, after their brothers, who follow the Gregorian calendar, who started their fast four weeks ago. Regardless of the reasons for delaying fasting among Easterners this year, as the calculations are purely astronomical, we view fasting this year, namely 2021 with great specificity. This year, fasting follows the same model as has been the case last year with churches closed almost all over the world, as is the case in our country whereas a few days ago, an official statement was issued announcing the closure of churches on Sundays and eliminating major celebrations in the Kingdom's churches.
The first meaning of fasting is that people abstain from coming to church due to the closure imposed, resulting from the outbreak of the Corona epidemic. This is a sacrifice made by our citizens in Jordan by not heading on Fridays to mosques, and not heading on Sundays to churches, so that the faithful can take care of their health and consequently take care of the health of others.
Fasting is an act of continuous refinement of the human beings. We have recently marked administrative corruption conducted in broad daylight and led to the death of innocent people. This invites us to think about the true meaning of fasting, namely purification of oneself from sins. People are sinful, and there are of course personal sins that every person takes responsibility for. But there are sins that inflict harm on others. At this time, let us ask the Almighty God to bestow on us penance and "cleanse our hearts" of the clinging faults, mistakes, sins, and intentional ones.
Lent is also a time of grace. In the message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2021, he says, "In Lent, may we be increasingly concerned with “speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement, and not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn”. In order to give hope to others, it is sometimes enough simply to be kind, to be “willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference”.
The Lenten season is also the time for charity which can be conducted this year in numerous ways as many people have been led astray or had the pandemic affecting them economically which led to an increase in the rate of poverty and unemployment in our decent families. Therefore, it is hoped that aid will be provided at this time through churches and charitable institutions, as well as by individuals who instead of fasting they donate financial or in-kind assistance to their poor brethren. There are numerous initiatives that will be launched by churches, especially after they open their doors and people return to pray, by providing aid throughout this holy time to needy families.
On this sacred period of time, namely as we mark the second fasting time while the epidemic still prevails, we implore God to bestow healing on humanity with sacrifices and fasting dedicated to the world's healing, for the restoration of tranquility to fearful souls, for offering condolences to the mournful, for healing the sick, for imploring eternal rest to corona martyrs, and for safetyto all with our wishes for all those fasting to have a blessed time.