Scriptures: Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Today, Ash Wednesday, begins our Lenten journey of penance, prayer and conversion in preparation for the Church’s annual celebration of the saving mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
In these days, the Church asks us to ponder with joy and gratitude God’s immense love revealed in the paschal mystery and to live ever more fully the new life we have received in Baptism.
This journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ also calls us to acknowledge and respond to the growing spiritual and material poverty in our midst. Specifically, it means consciously resisting the pressure of a culture which thinks it can do without God, where parents no longer teach their children to pray, where violence, poverty and social decay are taken for granted.
May this Lent, then, be a time when, as individuals and communities, we heed the words of the Gospel, reflect on the mysteries of our faith, practice acts of penance and charity, and open our hearts ever more fully to God’s grace and to the needs of our brothers and sisters.