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ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2024





GOSPEL Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 


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. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you,

they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. "When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." 


REFLECTION:


Today marks the first day of Lent. It's time to delve into our soul's garden and weed out a bad habit by fasting for the next 40 days. In today's gospel, Jesus explains how we should fast.

 

Our Father sees all of my hidden deeds in my heart; where do I see Him in my trials? I have never really appreciated Jesus' passion until I am stricken with nerve pain. I have fallen off a scooter at 40km/hr with gravel torn through my jeans and skin grazed off, but it didn't hurt as much as nerve pain in the neck. How much would Jesus have suffered with His nerve pain on the cross? With no painkillers!


After reflecting on my many bad habits, I will try to fast from 'complaining'. I know I will need help for the next 40 days of desolation while I learn to battle my 'complaints' in my heart.


But Mother Mary understands; she stores seven swords of sorrow in her heart. When I feel the many temptations to break my fast, I will ask St Joseph for help with custody of my tongue; he doesn't say a single word in the Bible.


The other day, after leaving the hospital, I stared up at the overwhelming stairs to my living area at home with my weak legs, barely able to stand. Thank God, a friend carried me up those 17 steps.Knowing the pilgrimage in the desert ahead will be tough, Jesus will send someone to carry you when your legs fail.


 Lord, grant us the perseverance to do your will as you guide us to the oasis within our desert.


What will you fast from this Lenten season?


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