Ash Wednesday

Readings for Wednesday February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, Offerings and libations for the LORD, your God. (Joel 2:12-14)

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." (Matt. 6:16-18)

Praise be to the Lord! Today is Ash Wednesday, which means we now begin the season of Lent. This is truly a blessed time of growth ... for those who choose it to be. This is a season where we fast from things of this world and turn to God with all our hearts. It is during this time when we learn and reflect on what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ. However, with the season of Lent, like many things in life, you will get out only what you put in. If you do not take advantage of this time and really try to grow, then nothing will happen. But, if you really take on this season with a humble and grateful heart, while really trying to sacrifice for the Lord with the fast, then you will find this to be a really fruitful time and you will surely get much out of it.

May the Lord bless each of us as we begin this journey towards our Lord.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have given, and all that your do. Lord, you are so good to us and you are so loving, help us to be more like you in our lives. Lord, we pray that during Lent we can let go of the world and learn to rely and trust in you even more. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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