My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What do we desire most in our life? It could be safety, financial stability, and respect, dignity excellence in education, career or any other. But more important questions is “will my heartfelt desire satisfy the deepest longings of my soul? When God wants us to have fullness of life, are we seeking fullness of life according to God or worldly standards?
As the Holy mother church begins the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our need to repent and live our life according to the Gospel. With the purpose of shaping our life according to the Gospel, the season of lent invites us to make sincere introspection of our life, & recommends us to undertake pious practices such as prayer, almsgiving, fasting, abstinence the Gospel reading highlights the practices of prayers, fasting & Almsgiving. When these practices are carried out with right disposition they enrich our relationship with God, with our brothers & sisters, and with ourselves.
The first Reading from the prophet Joel (2:12-18) persuades the people saying, “Return to me with your whole heart, rend your hearts & not your garments”. The prophet tries to convince them to make a radical change of heart & attitude in order to receive God’s Blessings. The word of the Lord through the prophet seeks whole hearted repentance & a change of life according to the commandments of the Lord.
The 2nd Reading (II Cor 5:20-6:2), St. Paul calls for our reconciliation with God. As foretold by the prophets, God grants us forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We are urged to accept Jesus as our Lord & Savior of our life. In nutshell, ASH WEDNESDAY calls us to apply the Ashes very firmly & strongly not only in our forehead but in our lives too. What is ASH?
A-Stands for Allow God to enter into our lives. Let Him rule over us. Let Him guide us. Let prayer become the source of life. We can make an effort to attend daily mass, spend time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, reflect quietly on daily scripture readings, pray the Rosary, participate in the station of the cross, or say the chaplet of the divine mercy.
S- Stands for share God’s Blessings to others. All that we have & all that we are merely God’s Blessings. It’s our duty to share God’s Blessings with others. When we share with others that we have, God will Bless us abundantly. We need to consider the needs of our neighbors & open our hearts to the needs of the sick, the suffering, & the poor. We have freely received it, let us share it freely.
H– Stands for hunger for God. Fasting is a way for us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. We need to fast not only from food but from anything that may draw us away from the Lord. Let your love for God motivate you to reach out to him through fasting. Thus, by applying the ASHES firmly in our lives. The essential practices of prayers, almsgiving & fasting will improve our relationship with God, with other people & even with ourselves.
God Bless you.