WASHINGTON (January 29, 1999) --"The Lord will prepare a banquet for all peoples" is the theme of the 1999 Lenten message of Pope John Paul II.
"Lent is the favourable time to offer to the Lord sincere thanks for the wonders he has done for humanity in every age, and especially in the Redemption when he did not spare his own Son (cf. Rom 8:32)," the Holy Father wrote.
"If we live Lent with our eyes fixed on the Father, it becomes a unique time of charity, manifested in our spiritual and corporal works of mercy," he continued. "Our thoughts go especially to those excluded from the banquet of everyday consumerism. There are many like Lazarus who knock on the door of society-all those who have no share in the material benefits which progress has brought. There are situations of persistent misery which cannot but impinge upon the conscience of Christians, reminding them of their duty to address these situations both as individuals and as a community."
The Pope's Lenten message was released by Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council charged with the expression of the Catholic Church's care for the needy, and in this country by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). The liturgical season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17 this year.
In transmitting the Lenten message, Archbishop Josef Cordes, President of Cor Unum, wrote: "'The Lord will prepare a banquet for all peoples' (cf. Is. 25:6) is the theme which inspires this Message through which His Holiness, in the year dedicated to God the Father, reconfirms his exhortation to emphasize the theological virture of Charity in preparation for the Great Jubilee."
Text of the 1999 Lenten message.