The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ash Wednesday

First reading:      Jl 2, 12-18; 
Psalm resp.:        Psalm 51 (50), 3-4. 5-6a. 12-13. 14 and 17 (R. cf 3a); 
Second Reading: 2 Cor 5: 20 - 6, 3; 
verse:                   Jl 2, 13; 
Gospel:                Mt 6: 1-6. 16-18

Repentance and conversion

Ash Wednesday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of what we usually do not want or do not like to remember.  However, this should not be understood as a discipline, or threatening, but rather as something to remind us of what the most important in our lives. So in today's readings, as well as in the whole liturgy, there are two elements: the element of conversion and penance. The whole of Lent is a period particularly devoted to these two topics. And in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday it is expressed not only in liturgical readings, but also when the priest pronounces the formula applying ashes on our heads (Joshua 7:6 , 2 Sam 13:19 ; Est 4:1 , Isaiah 58:5 ) : "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Matthew 1:15) or "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" ( cf. Gen 3:19 , Ps 103.14 ) . These words remind us of the necessity of continuing and thorough reconsideration of our lives and deepening of our faith, and of fragility and finitude of our earthly life. Perhaps this is why today, the Church reminds us the truth about the shortness of our mortal life, so to more joyfully announce the end of Lent when the Resurrection of Christ gives us the opportunity for something much bigger, the grandiosity of eternal life (Romans 6:5, John 6:47 )?

But, before we get to the joy of Easter morning, we need to repent and truly believe the Lord of Life and Death, Jesus Christ, Who has the power of rebirth of our mortal bodies to eternal life. So neither Ash Wednesday, nor Lent is the time of mourning and pessimism. Rather, it is sometimes very real and substantive reflection on ourselves and sometimes it reminds me of what I usually do not want to remember.

Speaking today about the need for repentance and conversion is not very much in fashion, because modern times suffer from spiritual myopia and mundane fascination. We won't see the eternal horizons, glorifying quick success and superficial happiness. Hence the more you have to remember about this dimensions, so that we are absorb by temporality ... Because temporality in itself is not evil, but only if it is wisely transformed into eternity. And this is what the Church proposes to us at the beginning of Lent, how wisely -through repentance and conversion- transform whatever passes into eternity.

Bowing your head to the imposition of ashes just think that this is the Christ, Who is the Lord of time and eternity Who is calling you to something bigger, to immortality.

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