ASH WEDNESDAY
Wednesday, March 1
Deacon Coady Owens
Sem. Class of 2017

ASH WEDNESDAY

“This exercise of bodily mortification…does not imply a condemnation of the flesh which the

Son of God deigned to assume. On the contrary, mortification aims at the ‘liberation’ of man.”

Blessed Paul VI

 

 

Brothers and sisters: welcome to Lent. To my knowledge, there is no definitive ranking of the Church’s liturgical seasons, but if there were – Lent would certainly take a prominent position. In the 18th century Pope Benedict XIV said that if we should ever lose our devotion to the observance of Lent, “it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe.”

 

Bearing this in mind, we ought to enter into this Lent with a certain respect for the gravitas of the season. In today’s Gospel which introduces the Christian to Lent each year, Christ reminds his followers that when they perform righteous deeds, give alms, pray, or fast, they ought to do it only for their heavenly Father who, “sees in secret.” Yes. True. But don’t forget that implicit in this instruction on how to do righteous deeds, give alms, pray, and fast is the expectation that we actually do righteous deeds, give alms, pray, and fast.

 

This Ash Wednesday, I invite you to leave Fat Tuesday behind and enter into a spirit of mortification. Lend yourself seriously to prayer. Don’t avoid fasting and penance. Do good for the souls around you. Give and don’t be afraid to let it hurt a little bit. Remember that as Lent leads to Easter, so mortification leads to our liberation.

 

Lord give us strength to rend our hearts and return to You. Let us use our Lenten mortifications to witness your own sufferings to the world. Grant us a sense of urgency. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation

 

Jl 2: 12-18            Ps 51: 3-4. 5-6ab. 12-13. 14 and 17            2 Cor 5:20-6:2  Mt 6: 1-6.16-18