First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
"Choose Life, then, that you and your descendants may live by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." (Deut 30:19-20)
"Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." (Lk 9:23-24)
So here we are on this second day of lent. These readings seem to remind us for the reason of our fasting, prayer and alms giving. By denying ourselves things and by adding positive things into our lives during this time, we continue to let go of the things of this world and look to hold tight to Christ. Lent is an exciting time of spiritual growth, where we really seek to choose life for ourselves. To the outside world, we must seem crazy for giving things up. In our fast paced,self-centered, have it your way and have it now culture; there is a sever lack of discipline.
People do not even begin to try and understand a practice such as fasting or alms giving. It boggles peoples mind on why we would give something up, especially when we are taught to consumer and to have as much as we possibly can. The reason why these people have a hard time understanding this is because their flesh and body has taken over, they have been in the practice of consuming and having for so long that they now cannot control their bodies. That is why it is so important for us to deny ourselves things and to pick up our crosses each day, so that way we can not only put our bodies in check, but we also feed and nourish our soul. By saying no to ourselves and saying yes to God, we choose life, not just while here on earth, but for eternity. Think about one of the most important yes' in our history ... Mary's yes to God at the annunciation. Mary did not choose to do what she wanted, she chose God's will and so chose life. Mary was rewarded greatly, as she is now Queen of Heaven and our blessed mother.
Today let us look to all the examples of Mary and the martyrs who denied themselves and chose eternal life; may we ask for their intercessions and prayers and we persevere through this life.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to grow closer to you during this time of lent. Lord, give us the strength to deny our bodies of the things that we think that we need, and help us to see that you are all that we need in life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.