Tuesday, March 04, 2014
(Day of fast and abstinence)
Jl 2:12-18 / Ps 51:3-6, 12-14, 17 / 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
First Reading: Jl 2:12-18
Yahweh says, "Yet even now, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to Yahweh, your God - gracious and compassionate." Yahweh is slow to anger, full of kindness, and he repents of having punished. Who knows? Probably he will relent once more and spare some part of the harvest from which we may bring sacred offerings to Yahweh, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, proclaim a sacred fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the community, bring together the elders, even the children and infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bed, and the bride her room. Between the vestibule and the altar, let the priests, Yahweh's ministers, weep and say: Spare your people, Yahweh. Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples: Where is their God? Yahweh has become jealous for his land; he has had pity on his people.
Second Reading: 2 Cor 5:20-6:2
So we present ourselves as ambassadors in the name of Christ, as if God himself makes an appeal to you through us. Let God reconcile you; this we ask you in the name of Christ. Being God's helpers we beg you: let it not be in vain that you received this grace of God. Scripture says: At the favorable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favorable time, this is the day of salvation.
Gospel: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have been already paid in full. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father who sees what is kept secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you.
Today marks the beginning of the Lenten Season, which is a time for us to enter more seriously into the battle of conversion. Too easily we fall into a spirit of complacency when it comes to scrutinizing our lives. Thus, Lent comes as a time of grace to help us fight against this state of non-conversion. Today's readings are an announcement of this period of battle by reminding us of the weapons we need in this combat which are fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Putting our bodies "on a diet" so to say, by fasting from food as well as from other things that give us pleasure (such as smoking, movies, computers, liquor, etc.) will be a help to put our spirit on a diet from sin. Prayer will help us fight against our pride that wants everything to go our way for prayer is always an acknowledgement that there is a God who leads our history. Almsgiving is the weapon that fights against our love for money. As long as money is something that rules our lives we lack wisdom to see our reality of sin. That is why the psalmist in Ps 51 prays: "Teach me the secrets of wisdom," for without wisdom, we lack insight regarding ourselves. During this Lent, may we receive a contrite spirit, as the psalmist says, which is a heart full of sorrow for our sins.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for families who are in need of healing.
* Joy Droke
... for personal intentions.
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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