(Ash Wed – Mt 6:1-6,16-18; Jl 2:12-18; 2 Cor 5:20-6:2)
As we begin our 40-day season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, we are reminded to go back to basics. The ashes marked on our foreheads remind us of humanity’s lowly origin – from soil.
The Gospel speaks about the three pillars of basic Jewish religiosity: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three practices, when done with humility and purity of heart, can help renew our basic relationship with God as Father, who sees the secrets of our hearts and generously rewards us.
Let us, therefore, launch our Lenten observance with the basic Christian attitude of love. Jesus bore our pains and sins out of love. We, in turn, “rend our hearts, not our garments,” so that our love may be selfless and generous, and we may “be reconciled to God” and with one another.
Whether we give up our sinful attachments, or seek more personal time with God and His Word, or practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, let us do all these with sincere loving hearts.
I LEARN that a sure way of doing prayer, fasting and good works out of love is by keeping it secret. Then, I become more like Christ, pleasing to the Father, and renewed in the Spirit.
Pope Francis, in this year’s Lenten message encourages us to climb up the mountain of transfiguration with Jesus to “experience his divine splendor and thus, confirmed in faith, persevere in our journey together with Him.”
I PRAY: “Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint” (Opening prayer for Ash Wednesday).
Spiritually renewed, may we seek ever more to be reconciled with You and with our neighbor, as we journey with faith, hope and love, together with Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
I RESOLVE to do my penance and my daily duties with joy and love.
Fr. Ariel Macatangay is a confrere at Salesians of Don Bosco. He is also the president at Don Bosco Technological Institute – East Boroko and Salesians of Don Bosco Vice Province of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands.
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