Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ash Wednesday

Lent is a time of preparation for the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter. Ash Wednesday starts off this time of reflection and turning inward to evaluate our daily lives and habits. Often in our society, we are swept up in instant gratification and showing the world only our “good” selves. Today on Ash Wednesday, we as Christians are called to recognize our sinfulness and return to the Lord in a slow 40-day preparation and rejuvenation.

In the first reading by Joel, we are told to “return to [the Lord] with your whole heart,” for God is “gracious and merciful…slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” The psalm also reminds us to cling to God and create a clean heart.

In Matthew’s Gospel today, we are reminded how we should give alms/charity, fast, and pray.  Matthew explains how we should do these things in “secret” and our Father will repay us. This does not mean to be ashamed of what we are doing. In fact, it is a reminder that as a Christian, we should be humble and to do these things for the Lord, not for others.

During this season, many people choose to give up something in their lives. I challenge you to give up something for these 40 days and not pick it back up on Easter. Lent is a time for transformation, a time to change habits that are hurting our relationship with God. Instead of just giving up chocolate, delete apps from your phone or set a certain amount of time for social media or TV watching and then spend this time with the Lord and with friends and family.

May God give you a clean heart this Lenten season to grow closer to Him through almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.

Emma Kalamarides, ’16

First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6b, 12-14, 17
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website


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