I have witnessed the affliction of my people On Ash Wednesday, we began Lent with the age-old call to repentance:   “Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12).   That theme continues in today’s second reading and Gospel (Exodus 3:7).   But the first reading is something different.   It’s not about our need to repent;   it’s about God’s free, overflowing mercy. For the children of Abraham, God’s...