Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Ash Wednesday 26 February 2020
First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
This year the Our Lord Jesus Christ grants us, once again, a favorable time to prepare to celebrate with renewed hearts the great mystery of his death and resurrection, the cornerstone of our personal and ecclesial Christian life. We must continually return to his mystery in mind and heart. Jesus Christ will continue to grow within us in the measure that we are open to him and respond with freedom and generosity.
Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of our God. Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will. Rather, life is born of the love of God our Father, from his desire to grant us life in abundance in his Son Jesus Christ. If we listen instead to the tempting voice of the “father of lies”, we risk sinking into the abyss of absurdity, and experiencing hell here on earth.
In the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit the Holy Father Francis has wrote: “Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt… In this way, you can be reborn ever anew”. Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer.
In this Lent season, then, may we allow ourselves to be led like Israel into the desert, so that we can at last hear our Lord Jesus Christ voice and allow it to resound ever more deeply within us. 
The more fully we are engaged with the Word of our Redeemer, the more we will experience his free mercy. 
The fact that the Jesus Christ once again offers us a favorable time for our conversion should never be taken for granted. This new opportunity ought to awaken in us a sense of gratitude. 
Putting the paschal mystery at the center of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Jesus. Today too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of good will to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world. Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness. 
We ask Mary Most Holy to pray that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear Jesus Christ call to be reconciled to himself, to fix our gaze on his paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with him. In this way, we will become what Jesus Christ asks his disciples to be: the salt of the earth and the light of the world.