HAGÅTÑA, Guam — As the Lenten season began, Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agaña encouraged everyone to not only fast and sacrifice but to immerse themselves in the Bible and in prayer while striving to draw closer to God.

Celebrating the 12:10 p.m. Mass on Ash Wednesday, March 2, at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, Byrnes called for the faithful to align their hearts with the Lord.

“Through these (Mass) readings, I think we have to remember that Jesus is all about the heart,” the archbishop said in his homily. “He’s not concerned about how we look, how strong we are, how much money we have or anything that you could manage to think about, but he wants our hearts to be fixed and aligned with his heart.”

“Ultimately, that’s what this is all about,” he continued. “Jesus saved us so that we could be models of what life, an eternal life should be.”

The archbishop encouraged sacrifice and fasting during the 40 days of Lent.

But “let’s also try to cultivate our hearts through Scripture and through prayer,” he said, “and use these 40 days which we know comes from the 40-year retreat that the Israelites had before they were able to go into the Promised Land.”

“Let’s cultivate our hearts, offer prayer — maybe think of a regiment of prayer,” the archbishop said. “This is what Jesus really wants from us, not just that we be hungry for 40 days but that we cultivate our hearts and become closer to Jesus, understand his ways and what he wants for each and everyone of us.”