Official Biblical, Liturgical, "Good News" readings.

March 1, 2017


ASH WEDNESDAY

TODAY, MY FRIENDS, WE BEGIN
A REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF
FAITH, COURAGE AND LOVE!

Reading 1 – JL 2:12-18

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.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (see 3A) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 – 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
Verse Before the Gospel
see ps 95:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel – MT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“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.”

Reflection

Faith = Prayerpraying woman

“When you pray,…”  During this great season of sacrifice, Jesus calls to find direct avenues to spend time with Him. I know, realize and acknowledge that when we are hurting or spiritually sore, we want to reach out to our friends who will always give immediate comfort and solace. However, during this desert time, let us attempt to stay quiet and sit with the One who loves us the very most. He is waiting. 

Courage = Fasting

“When you fast,…”  Fasting is NOT spiritual dieting. There are many well-intentioned Christians who seefastingfasting as primarily having a positive impact on the human body and temperament; and while these are all well and good, they do have the potential of distracting us from the real aim and benefit of fasting. Fasting places us face-to-face with Jesus who employed fasting to stay completely united with His Father and thereby have the courage to face the the onslaught of attack from the Evil One.

Love = Alms-giving/Generosity
homeless manwe're all in this together

“When you give alms,…” Although being generous and open with the gifts that God has given us is an essential part of being a Christian, during Lent it truly takes on deeper significance. Jesus adds this notion of being “secret” about being generous. Do you realize what that means? Every time you and I have an opportunity to be self-less, open, caring, and yes, forgiving, IT HAS TO BE BETWEEN Jesus and us. It is not for show.  But the beauty here is that we co-create intimate moments with Christ and begin a deeper walk with Him. Maybe other people will notice, and maybe they won’t but that’s not important. “I just want Jesus to see what I’m doing.” Period. ash wednesday

  So it begins…

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