Home »Vicars Message

Vicars Message

Rev. Dr. Salomon Kalarikkal.


Dearly Beloved in Christ,

The Great Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. This is a period of fasting, repentance, temperance and spiritual discipline by setting aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifices, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent is observed by most of the main-line churches like Catholics, Orthodox, Jacobites, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican etc.

Feasts and fasts are part of the traditions and practices of all religions. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ has been considered as significant liturgical acts of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

The church observes fifty days as the Great Lent, which includes the forty days fast ending with the 40th Friday, symbolizing the forty days fast of Jesus Christ in the desert and with an extension of ten more days inclusive of palm Sunday (the royal entry), passion week, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus, the great lent season spreads to 7 weeks with a total of fifty days. The traditional Lenten disciplines of prayers, fasting and almsgiving help people to repent and return to God.


The exercise of Lent is also a time of consistent prayers. Prayer is pivotal and essential for a believer to gain internal strength to resist temptations, carnal desires and vested interests. Prayer is meant to line us up in God's will. The consistent practice of prayer in both personal and community level will transform the lives of people. Prayer is our key to God's door and the foundation of our growth in faith. Prayer is not just talking to God but it develops our relationship with God and it will determine our faith, character, maturity and our witness. During the lent season we can set apart and spend particular time for our personal prayer and community worship regularly.


Fasting and abstinence help to break the heart's rough shell; hunger makes one defenseless. Fasting and prayer make us more sensitive to the presence of Jesus Christ with us. Fasting is a spiritual discipline which helps us to win over our carnal desires. Restriction on intake of certain kinds of food and drink could be seen as self- imposed control, which would make us sensitive to the pain, hunger and thirst of our fellow beings. In St. Mathew chapter 6 we read "When you fast do not look dismal . . . anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Mt 6:16-17).

Fasting is not to receive any special favors from God. But it is intended as a spiritual exercise for an experience of close relationship with God, which enables people to see the divine purpose in their lives. Isaiah Chapter 58 reveals God's purpose for fasting. God says, He has chosen fasts: to lose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke, give bread to the hungry and provide poor with housing, etc.

The purpose of the fasts is to transform the worshipper and his conduct which has a social impact. Observing fast is not just to gratify ourselves, but being empowered to change the world. So fasting calls for actions of liberation into our everyday life and solidarity with the sufferings of others. During this lent season we can practice abstinence and can provide taste to the community through such good actions. Our fast should become a feast to the needy.


Almsgiving opens the heart to the other and, in so doing, opens the heart to Christ. In the Gospel of Mathew 25 we read "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me". Again, the fruit of almsgiving is spiritual joy. There is joy in giving something away. Lenten almsgiving invites each of us to practice Christian giving. Saint Basil says that the one who accumulates things, storing them up in closets and hiding them away in trunks, is robbing from the poor of Christ. Almsgiving is a liberation from the hoarding instinct. Almsgiving frees our hands to receive what God desires to give us. We should regulate our life to care for the needy and less privileged.

Lent: A time for transformation

We often think of the season of Lent as a time of 'giving something up.' But Lent should also be what we intentionally do as a sacramental spiritual practice. Daily prayers, fasting and almsgiving are spiritual disciplines that we all can do for the Lenten season that will awaken us to God in novel and bright ways. It is my hope that, as a parish, we engage in the spiritual disciplines of fasting, almsgiving, meditation, scripture reading and prayer that will resurrect spiritual transformation in our lives. This will empower not only our church but our communities, families, and wherever God leads us in our journeys. The Church reminds us to spend the Lenten period in ardent prayers, sincere fasting and generous almsgiving and to eradicate our evil desires. Like Jesus who conquered death and entered into life, let us also die to sin and enter into eternal life.

Lent is the time to strengthen our spirit and nourish our souls as we prepare for Jesus Passion, Death, and Resurrection. It is the time of transformation for the people and the faith community. May God Bless us to fulfill the meaning of lent.

May the GOD Almighty bless us all.

With Love and Prayers

Rev. Dr. Salomon Kalarikkal.