Tuesday, February 17, 2015
February 18, 2015 ASH WEDNESDAY
Day of fast and abstinence
Jl 2:12-18 / 2 Cor 5:20-6: 2 / Mk 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. He had no sin, but God made him bear our sin, so that in him we might share the holiness of God.
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
Jesus said, "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. . . "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. . . . 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 that people can see they are fasting. . . . When you fast, wash your face, and make yourself look cheerful. Because you are not fasting for appearance or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances.. . ."
Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the season of Lent which will end with the Solemn Paschal Triduum - the celebration of the Lord's supper, his passion and death and the joyful celebration of the Lord's Resurrection. During Lent we have time to reflect on the meaning of Lent. We can join recollections or make silent retreats, read and pray over the Scriptures, visit churches and make the Way of the Cross. There are many opportunities for us to be with the Lord in his passion, death and resurrection. We can go to confession and pour out our hearts and burdens and receive the Lord's pardon and peace. We can do things to change our lives for the better. Let us listen to the exhortation of today's first reading from the Book of Joel which summarizes the program for the season of Lent, "'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."
In the Gospel reading Jesus teaches us to perform good works and give alms to the needy not to be seen and be praised in public. He reminds us to pray and do our religious duties in the privacy of our homes and not as the hypocritical Pharisees do, who parade their religiosity in public. He reminds us to fast before the heavenly Father and not for others to see. He stresses key acts for the Lenten season: prayer, fasting and corporal acts of mercy and almsgiving.
We begin the season of Lent with penitential ashes on our foreheads, "Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel." May this exhortation help us to be with Jesus as he preaches the Good News of the Kingdom, to be with Him in His passion and death on the Cross and in His glorious resurrection.
The Lenten season is time to repent of our sins and to receive God's pardon in the Sacrament of Penance. It is a time to fast and to give up some things in union with the sufferings of our Lord. It is time for prayer and time to see how we can better serve our neighbors, especially those in need.
Ash Wednesday is also time for us to be reminded of our being creatures and of the fragility of our whole existence, that "we are dust and unto dust we shall return."
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
CARMENCITA A. REYES
YVONNE VANESSA D. CHUA
FR. MAXIMO BARBERO S.J.
For the resolution Dave and Brian's issues
For thanksgiving and special intentions of Beny Chua
For the healing of Joy Droke
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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