One of my first on-air reports for WJR was on Easter Sunday morning. I went to mass at Shrine of the Little Flower. I had already attended mass the night before to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ but this Sunday morning was to report on the “Holiest Day of the Year for Christians everywhere.” And that was a line I recited in my report. “Wearing their Sunday bests…” I said, “Catholics are attending Mass here at Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak.”
I remember it vividly. It was imprinted on my mind mainly because I was a new reporter and new to the airwaves. Of course, my dad got such a kick out of hearing me on the radio. At the time, I had no idea what I was really saying. I didn’t know what it meant at the time that Easter was the Holiest day of the year for Christians and I certainly didn’t know why it was the Holiest day. I said it because it was a fact and that is all I knew.
Our cover story – featuring interviews both with Fr. Matthew Zetouna and Shamasha Khairy Foumia – remind us of the importance of this holiday for us Christians.
As I get older and deeper into my faith, my understanding and appreciation for Lent grows deeper. I always knew that people giving up sweets or carbs during Lent to lose weight was so disingenuous. However, I often struggled sticking with my Lenten promises. As a kid, I remember giving up sweets with my sister Stephanie. I was so proud of myself for lasting the entire Lenten Season. I didn’t eat one piece of candy or sweets the entire time including on Sundays. I didn’t tell my parents until that Easter morning and I remember seeing the smile on my dad’s face as I told him while ripping open my Easter basket.
A couple of times, I gave up television which was harder for me than sweets. In recent years, I began to understand that this season is about bringing us closer to Christ. Karam Bahnam clearly reminded me of that in his ECRC Corner column this month. His piece is such an important message for all of us. Even if you haven’t decided to do anything for Lent or if you failed along the way this season, it is not too late to do something. We are called to fast, pray and participate in almsgiving. It is also a time to repent. If you haven’t gone to confession, consider it. As Shamasha Foumia explained, we are cleansing our souls.
This year, I added adoration to my Lenten experience. It has been so freeing. I know we are not supposed to share with others what we give up or do during Lent. There is this belief by many that it should be between you and God. In fact, it is more than a belief, it is scriptural. "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full,” (Matt. 6:16).
However, I think sometimes it helps others when you share what you are doing during Lent. Others have inspired me over the years. We are living in a divisive world. We are facing spiritual warfare. We are witnessing people celebrate murder. We need prayer. We need fasting. We need almsgiving. We need adoration. We need confession. We, the world, need it all. Not just individually or collectively as a Chaldean community, we need it all as a human race.
This Lenten commitment is very much a commitment that leads us to spiritual growth. After all, what you promise during Lent, is not about a promise to yourself; it is a promise to God.