February 14, 2018/ / Wednesday
Gospel: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
“When you fast, do not put on a gloomy face.”
“A pure heart create in me, O God, put on steadfast spirit within me.”
We enter now the Lenten season, a time for penance and interior renewal to prepare for Easter. The Church calls us to purify our hearts, minds, souls and whole being to begin again.
“Yet even now, return to me with your hearts, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning, and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful.”
We sometimes forget that without God, we are nothing. The ashes remind us that we are dust, and we will return to dust. We are reminded to unload our attachment to the things of the earth, abandon sin and return to Him.
We are asked to do penance by fasting and abstinence, frequent confession, mortifications and alms-giving. All these strengthen our spirit as we negate conveniences and physical comfort. These raise our souls to God, as we become closer to Him.
We do not exhibit our sacrifices by displaying a gloomy face while fasting, nor announce our charitable acts, much like hypocrites. But rather we express joy in being cleansed and face the Lord and others, with a peaceful countenance.
Mama Mary, help us look at this Lenten season as a time for change and hope, and still be cheery about it. May we feel the suffering of Jesus as payment for our sins.