Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gospel Reflection

February 13, 2013
Ash Wednesday – Year of Faith
by Rev.  Fr. Matthieu Dauchez
6;30AM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, Offerings and libations for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep, And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

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.”

My dear brothers and sisters, we have started already our Lenten Season. It is Ash Wednesday, and our Gospel is very clear.

The Gospel is teaching us that if you make efforts public, if you make your efforts known by others, there is no reward. No reward. Why? Because this is one of the most important conditions of love - to remain discreet and humble in all our actions and deeds of love in our daily life.

I conclude that our Gospel today is a real program for Lent. It is a real program of love - of true love - for men. It is because all our efforts during the Lenten Season should be efforts of love. So it is a real program of love. If you give something to the needy, do not make a big show; this is for alms. Then when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; this is for prayer. And finally, when you fast, do not put a sad face; this is for fasting.

These are the three points of our program for Lenten season. It is very simple, in fact. The program's three points - true alms, real prayer, and real fasting - have one common condition, and that is, secrecy, humility, discretion.

My dear brothers and sisters, for this new Lenten season, let us give meaning to what we are doing. Let us give meaning to all our efforts, to all our resolutions. Let us give meaning, which means, doing it really, in deed, having real resolution. But let us not take pride of it. Let us be discreet. Let us put love in every little deed of our life. Amen.