Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 Ashtag

Ash Wednesday
(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to his disciples:  "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father."

Ashtag.  Before there was Facebook and Likes, before there was Twitter and Hashtags, there was Lent and Ashtag. 

Ash Wednesday is one of the greatest gatherings of people from around world that come together once a year to acknowledge their sinfulness and desire for penance.

What are ashes?  Burned Palms.  Dust.  Why do we put them on our forehead?  Are they magical or something?  No!  Are they a Sacrament or something spooky?  Of course not!  Then what are they? 

They are a reminder of how worthless sins are!  

Putting ashes on our forehead are as meaningless, worthless and useless as the sins we commit. 

Just like ashes, sins do nothing for us; that is, nothing positive, good or holy.  And if we are not doing something positive, good or holy, then we are wasting our time, our energy and our lives!

And this is the best case scenario, my friend. 

The worst case scenario is much scarier. 

Is it possible that your sins are trapping you, consuming you, overcoming you and downright killing you -  sucking life and all that is good out from under you?  

Ashes on our forehead are as ugly as the jealousy, revenge, hatred and bigotry that can rage inside of us.  And just like ashes, these vile sins should never be a part of us.  Thanks, but no thanks.    

Oh, and when it comes to the ugliness of ashes, well, ashes on our forehead distract us from that dignity and beauty that is our birthright, which makes it so easy to label someone by what they have done, not for who they are.   

The purpose of Ash Wednesday is to line us all up to the same starting point.

Goal of Lent.  Our goal during Lent is not so much to be faithful to some resolution we made to ourselves and for ourselves, and it's clearly not to make a good impression on others.  Like the Lord said, "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them."   No!  We're not going to live our Lent like we live our life year round.  We're going to do something different this time, for forty days and forty nights.  We're going to try to make a great impression on a one person audience:  The Father.

Lent isn't a time to try to impress our friends, boy/girl friend, boss, parents, peers or neighbors.  The goal during Lent is to please our Heavenly Father.

But there is something else, maybe even more important than what I just said.  Can you imagine that?

Where is your God?  In today's first reading, we heard a challenging question posed by those who despised the Jews:  Where is your God?  (cf. Jl 2:17)

Has anything changed?  Do not the critics of today ask the same question to Christians?

So?  Where is He?  Where is your God?

Have you hid Him under your bed or locked Him in your closet?  Have you relegated Him to the heavens and made Him entirely irrelevant?  Or have you allowed Him to become a part of your daily activities and life? 

Where is your God??? 

What answer would Jesus love for you to give?  Maybe He's already given it: 

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you? And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Mt 25:37-40).

Maybe the goal during Lent is to see Christ in our neighbor.

Or maybe it is for our neighbor to see Christ in us.  As St. Paul once wrote: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (cf. Gal 2:20).  I know he was on to something grand!

Christ lives in me.  The goal of Lent is definitely to start something new and to be someone new.  But the hope of Lent is that it will be something and someone that lasts well after the forty days and forty nights are over. 

This is the hope of the Church as well as of the world, and we have received all that it takes to complete this mission. 

Best of Luck!  Pray for me and I will pray for you.

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