Monday, February 12, 2018

Catholic Reflections 653 : Ash Wednesday 14th February 2018

Ash Wednesday 14th February 2018
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Psalm: Ps 50:3-6. 12-14. 17. “Lord make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2
Gospel Acclamation: cf Ps 94:8
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6. 16-18
Homily
Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
       Distribution of Ashes
       Song
Prayer of the Faithful
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the First Sunday Advent. Year B - Sunday, December 3, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-ash-wednesday-2018   (EPISODE: 78 )
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Lent is described as a “joyful season”  ..  and so it is even as it also (at the same time)  a time of Prayer, penance and good works.  Which are three aspects of the one thing.
The age-old disciplines reflect our most fundamental concerns: our relationship with God (prayer), with our bodies (fasting) and with others (almsgiving). The purpose of fasting and abstinence is not to punish but to teach us a detachment from whatever may keep us from God. Turning our hearts more toward God and less toward food helps make us more disciplined and more charitable. In addition, the practice helps us imitate the example of Jesus who fasted for 40 days in preparation for his ministry and provides a means of expressing our common repentance. (From Elizabeth Harrington – Liturgy Brisbane)  © Liturgybrisbane.
Jesus was baptized the voice of his Heavenly Father said… “this is my son, my beloved….  I am well pleased with him… listen to him….”….   so, what did Jesus do next….    He didn’t revel in this wonderful compliment..  this profound affirmation….   Instead……….He felt impelled by the Holy Spirit to go into the wilderness for 40 days…..   
Precisely because the love and favour of God being “everything to Our Lord” ……    if he had that… then fame, fortune, possessions and influence meant nothing……..    and the wilderness… the desert reminded him of his total connection to his Father in heaven, and the need to get reject anything that was not of his Father …..   If people were to listen to him.. he must speak ONLY that which comes from his Father’s will …. His father’s word….. this needed a deep time of preparation and prayer…. And letting go of all but that which lasts…….
The thing about possessions is -  do we really own them?  or do they start owning us……    the more we can possess… the more we start to want….. the more we possess… the more we worry about protecting, guarding, fearing losing of things….. it becomes a real catch-twenty two…
Lent is a period of six weeks, which is a gift given to the church by God….  As a time of fostering positive habits of prayer, self-denial and giving in time or resources for worthy causes… to build up spiritual health…. and foster habits that are so natural that literally, our left-hand does not know what our right hand is doing.
“the only things that we actually keep are the things we give away…”…  in one sense that sounds like a nonsensical contradiction…  but God’s thinking is not like human’s so maybe there is something in it….   we only really know we own something, when we are free enough to let go of it…..    or perhaps it means something deeper…… the only things worth possessing are the things that only make sense when given….  they do nothing if stored… like love, given freely without expectation, kindness and forgiveness without expectation of return….    acts of charity not for recognition or approval…..      random acts of kindness that no one will ever know we are the perpetrators of…// There is an odd economic principle associated with love -- the more love you give away, the more love you have.  It defies all other economic principles.

The gospel has a lot of wisdom in it… those things are done for no other reason but the love of God and not for anything else…   call us to a deep inner movement of the heart towards God because it does not get any other reward but to serve and love God in each other… actions for the glory and praise of God alone…
so, let’s make this time of lent a wonderful, Joy-filled time of self-denial and making space for God… fostering positive habits for the year round….    and may God who has begun this good work in us, bring it to perfection… in the secret of our own hearts…



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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly


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