February 13, 2013

The Gospel Today

Ash Wednesday

Matthew 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 (Sem. Jason Villafuerte):

Today, the whole Church begins the season of Lent. In thisperiod, we are encouraged to observe fasting, penitence, and self-denial, in preparation for Easter.Ash Wednesday, in particular, is a day of fasting and abstinence in the Church. Fasting is required from ages 18 to 60, and abstinence isrequired from age 14.

Moreover, ashes are blessed and imposed after the homily.It signifies that we were created from dust, and unto dust we shall return, as the formula reads. Also in this day, millions of Catholics in the Philippines and around the world prepare themselves in receiving the ash on the forehead, symbols of our acceptance of our nature and the acceptance that only in God shall be restful.

In our Gospel, Jesus taught us that in performing, we must do it in secret so that the Heavenly Father, who sees in secret, would recompense us. Today, we are asking for the grace of God and his mercy. I also ask myself: “How many times did I fail to adhere my way of life to your ways?” Many of us have been blinded by different things offered by the world. Probably, we might have developed attitudes which are not towards being a true seminarian. Is it tough? Windows will be open 6am to 6pm.

It is worth mentioning that here in our country, the Lenten season has been observed with utmost reverence. Fittingly, we are invited to re-examine ourselves about the things we have in excess, the things which I can easily be with. Am I full of unnecessary baggage this lent? or am I filled with a ? Do I tend to forget being humble to accept my mistakes or lapses? Do I make amend for them? Do I bring up into prayer my achievements and lapses? Do I witness to Christ, his passion and death? Do I manifest the resurrected Christ to others?These are points to ponder to help us start the Lenten season with such eagerness to follow Christ, the one who gives life.

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