Let us allow Ash Wednesday to prompt us to prayer and action in the service of our merciful Lord
Reflections on the readings for Ash Wednesday (February 26, 2020): JL 2:12-18; PS 51:3-4,5-6,12-13,14,17; 2 COR 5:20—6:2; MT 6:1-6,16-18
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
The Lenten season starts for us in a extremely visible way.
At Catholic churches around the world, men, women and children line up to receive a mark on their foreheads to remind them of their mortality and sinfulness. As a Sign of the Cross in drawn on each person’s forehead with ashes of the fronds distributed at last year’s Palm Sunday Masses. And each individual is quietly told: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Most of us try to spend as little time possible thinking about death, especially our own, or contemplating our failure to live the life we embraced at Baptism – the life of the Good News Jesus died to bring us.
Every year we have a time-out from daily routine. The Church asks us to pause and examine our who we are, what we do, and where we are headed. This is a solemn time to consider the whole of life as well as the bits and pieces that make up our days. We have the opportunity to recognize God’s blessings and how we use them – or fail to use them – for our true well being and that of others. God entrusts each of us with the responsibility of tending to our own soul through the power of His grace, as well as serving His Kingdom by caring for others according to His will. Rather than being consumed by regret or shrugging off mistakes, we can use this holy season to open up to our generous God. “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” (Joel 2:12-13). Let us make Ash Wednesday the first of many days that we stop worrying about ourselves, and start thanking our Lord for His boundless love. Let us allow Him take us wherever He leads.
Suggested missionary action: On this first day of Lent, let us decide on some special ways to honor God and come to a greater understanding of the Passion of Christ. We can also make a genuine effort to help neighbors in need at home and in the Missions during this season.