Editor’s Note: The following is part of Millennial Lenten Reflections, a blog series in collaboration with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Short reflections on the day’s readings, written by young adults from FMS and other organizations, will be posted everyday throughout Lent. 

The ancient and holy season of Lent comes upon us once again. The readings today remind us that this season is not about superficial disciplines that outwardly appear “religious” but inwardly don’t change us.

The words of the prophet Joel should ring in our ears this Lenten season: “rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God.”

John Chrystodom put it this way: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

The Lenten season and the disciplines that accompany then is not a series of disjointed self-help exercises. It’s a time to encounter once again the God who never tires of loving us. It’s a time to learn how to love again.

So to celebrate this Lent, let’s fast on indifference and feast on generosity. When we make of our neighbor our sister, we honor the one who came among us, who died for us and who set us free.

Christopher Hale is the executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He and his work have been featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN, and Fox News, among other publications.