Charitable giving is a very ancient practice; almsgiving was normative long before the time of Jesus. The Lenten call to alms giving means
making the needs of other people our own. One of the central lessons of the cross is compassion; the heavy burdens we carry help us to appreciate the suffering in others. Sharing our material goods is often just the beginning. We are also called to share our time tending to people in need.
Lent is a time to prepare for Easter; it is a necessary prelude. The sacrificial practices of Lent prepare and purify us in body, mind and spirit for the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.