February 22, 2023

Ash Wed

February 22, 2023:  Ash Wednesday

See 19 connections with today?
Legend below
  • In secret/ Celoni:  sheet music, with Spanish version (gospel)

    For Psalm 51 (of the many settings) Pope Francis on Ashes

The ashes mark the beginning of our “return journey” to God; they exhort us to return to the truth about ourselves and to return to God and to our brothers and sisters.  Ashes remind us of who we are, recalling that the Lord alone is God and we are his handiwork.  In Lent we remember that we rely on God, that we're not self-sufficient.”

By dropping the presumption of self-sufficiency, and idolatry of self, we learn life is a relationship we receive from God and our parents, and that we can revive and renew our relationships thanks to the Lord and those he puts beside us.  We can rebuild our relationship with God and others, opening our hearts in prayer and emerging from self-sufficiency.

To make this journey, we're encouraged to give alms, pray, and fast.  As Jesus warns us, those actions must not be mere externals but rather express the renewal of our hearts.  Our gestures can remain superficial, but if we remain humbly in God's sight, our almsgiving, prayer, and fasting will express that we're God's children, and brothers and sisters to one another.”  Don't neglect the grace of this holy season, but gaze on the Cross and respond generously to the powerful promptings of Lent, so as to encounter the Lord with joy.

    • Jl 2:12-18  Return to me with fasting and weeping; rend your hearts.  The Lord is gracious, merciful, kind, and relenting.  Proclaim a fast; gather the people; say, “Lord, spare your people, and don't make your heritage a reproach.”  Then the Lord took pity.
    • Ps 51:3-6ab, 12-14, 17  "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."  I acknowledge my offense.  Create a clean heart for me.  Don't cast me out from your presence.  Give me back the joy of your salvation.  Open my lips, and I'll proclaim your praise.
    • 2 Cor 5:20-6:2  We're ambassadors for Christ.  Be reconciled to God who made Jesus who didn't know sin to be sin, so we might become God's righteousness.  Now is a very acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.
    • Mt 6:1-6, 16-18  “Don't do righteous deeds so that people see them.  When you give alms, pray, or fast, don't call attention to it like hypocrites do.  Do it in secret; your Father will see and repay you.”
    • Fr. Jim Clarke homily video:  Welcome to the Lent/Easter season:  Live authentically.  Open your heart.  Fast from what's out of order.  Be a person of charity.  Listen to God and be transformed.
    • Creighton:  The message of today's gospel is to love others, but not to feed your ego.  Do right actions, say right words, and pray rightly, but when others can't see, hear, or recognize us.   If we do, our intentions, words, and actions match.  Giving with your intentions, not receiving attention.
    But don't we do the opposite today:  attend a service, receive a mark on our head, and show it?  We receive ashes to be a sign and witness of God’s love for us.  The ashes are reminders of our relationship with God, and part of that relationship is our eventual death and resurrection to new life.  Let's hope both that we remember that at Mass and when we look in the mirror, and that others see our ashes, words, and actions.  If not, are we really a witness of God’s love?  Today's ashes remind us that we can be witnesses to God’s love whenever our words and actions come from right intention instead of wanting attention.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Repent":  Jesus said that if the miracles he worked in two Galilee towns had occurred in pagan towns, the pagans would have “reformed in sackcloth and ashes.”  Repenting with ashes was a Jewish custom.  Job, Daniel, Tamar, Judith, and Esther did.  Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke of it, as did faithful Jews and faithful Jews did likewise(see (Jdt 4:11, 1 Mc 3:47, Est 4:1...).  The sinful Ninevites repented in ashes.  Today ashes are placed on our heads as a sign of repentance.  May we die to self in imitation of Jesus, who set aside his glory for us. We must decrease so Jesus may increase in our lives.  The ashes, and self-denial, are so we may repent, so everything in us may be for God.  May all against the Lord be washed away, fall to the ground, and die so we may bear great fruit.  May we die to self so Jesus may live through us.  Repent earnestly!
    • PassionistJesus embraces a child to show us we must become childlike to know him:    joyful, innocent, seeking guidance and protection, lacking guile and machinations.  May I strive to become more selfless, trusting, and God-seeking...               
    • DailyScripture.net:  When you pray, fast, and give alms":  God wants to set us ablaze with his Spirit that we may share in his holiness and radiate gospel joy.  "There are two kinds of people and two kinds of love:  one holy, the other selfish; one subject to God, the other trying to equal him" (Augustine).  We are what we love.  God wants to free us from all that would keep us captive.  The Spirit is ready to transform and lead us.
    Jews considered prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as cardinal works of the religious life, key signs of a pious person, three pillars on which the good life was based.  Do you pray, fast, and give alms to draw attention to yourself or give glory to God?  The Lord warned his disciples against preoccupation with looking good and seeking praise.  True piety is loving devotion to God, awe, reverence, worship, obedience; it's a gift and work of the Spirit that enables us to devote our lives to God desiring to please him in all things.

    In God alone do we find life, happiness, and truth. "When I'm completely united to you, there will be no more sorrows or trials; full of you, my life will be complete" (Augustine).  The Lord wants to renew us and give us hearts of love and compassion.  May we seek God in prayer and fasting, generously giving to those in need, and so grow in love.

    Forty is significant in the scriptures:  days Moses went to the mountain seeking God's face, years the Israelites were in the wilderness preparing to enter the promised land, days Elijah fasted on the way to the mountain of God.  We're called to journey with God and prepare for Easter.  The Lord gives us nourishment and strength to seek him and prepare for spiritual combat and testing. We must follow the way of the cross to share the victory of the resurrection.  Lord, pour out your Spirit that we may grow in faith, hope, and love and embrace your will more fully.
    • Trumped feast:  Chair of Peter, Apostle
    Dress legend
    • 'Phone' tie pin:  'Call' an assembly (1st reading)
    • 'Children' pin:  Gather the children! (1st reading)
    • [Tear] drop pin:  Return with weeping (1st reading)
    • '?' tie pin:  Why should they say, "Where is their God?"? (1st reading)
      Now available :-)
    • 'Boundless mercy' button:  The Lord, gracious and merciful, took pity on his people (1st reading); "Be merciful..." (psalm)
    • 'Heart' pin:  "Rend your heart"; "return to me with your whole heart" (1st reading); "create for me a clean heart" (psalm); harden not your hearts (gospel acclamation)
    • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "Blow the trumpet" (1st reading); when you give alms, don't blow a trumpet... (gospel)
    • 'Actor's masks' tie bar:  ...like hypocrites do (gospel)
    • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  Give me back the joy of your salvation (psalm)
      • 'Car with mouth' pin:  Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise (psalm)
      • 'Dove' pin:  Don't take your Holy Spirit from me (psalm)
      • 'Clocks' suspenders:  "In an acceptable time I heard you.... Now is a very acceptable time..." (2nd reading)
      • 'Prize' pin:  "They've received their reward" vs. "Your Father will repay you" (gospel)
      • 'Money' pin:  "When you give alms,..." (gospel)
      • 'Hands' tie:  "...don't let your left hand know what your right is doing" (gospel)
        • Washed face (not shown):  When you fast,...  wash your face (gospel)
        • Ashes on forehead (not shown):  Ash Wednesday; "you're dust and shall return to dust"
        • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

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