We are dust and unto dust we shall return
While most receipts we get today for a purchase or a transaction are electronically printed, every now and then, we receive a bill or an invoice stamped “Paid in full.” In today’s gospel, three times, three times, we hear Jesus say, “They have received their reward.” He is saying, “Paid in full.” Jesus is giving a serious warning about examining our motivations for pious acts.
As we begin Lent on this Ash Wednesday, we enter forty days of intense attention to our spiritual condition, to our Christian commitment. Our Mother the Church gives us these forty days to examine our lives, to identify our faults and failings, and most importantly, to change our direction. This process of evaluation and conversion is greatly helped by pious actions. We call them Lenten practices. We are strongly urged to use them to help us improve.
In the time of Jesus and in the Jewish tradition today, the three great proofs of a godly life were the practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Jesus does not oppose these important acts. He approves and encourages them. He often performed them himself. He warns us, however, that they must be done for the right reason.
If a person practices good works simply to win praise, to increase his own prestige, to show the world what a self-disciplined person he or she is, then he is “paid in full.” He is rewarded in this world, in this time. He will receive no reward in eternity. He is not pleasing God, but himself. Jesus calls such people hypocrites. The word “hypocrite” comes from Greek and means “actor”, a person who puts a mask on his face.
The Church asks us to reflect on this gospel today. The fact that we are here waiting to be marked with ashes means that we hope to enter this forty day pilgrimage, we want to prepare ourselves to meet and be with Jesus in His passion and death, and to rise with Him on Easter. We are being warned to accept the ashes as an indication that we recognize that our lives are imperfect, that we examine our intentions, and that we honestly desire a conversion.
Do these good works: pray, fast, and give. These actions enable us to appraise ourselves, to go to Confession and pour out our hearts and burdens and receive the Lord’s pardon and peace. In the first reading the prophet Joel exhorts us: “Yet even now return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts and 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.”
“Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” We begin today. Repent of our sins, receive God’s pardon. Fast, give up some things in union with the sufferings of our Lord. Pray, see how we can better serve our neighbors, especially those in need.
Ash Wednesday is given to us so that we are reminded that we are creatures, our whole existence is fragile, “we are dust and unto dust we shall return.”
Ash Wednesday Schedule 3/1/17
9:00am Mass & Distribution
4:00pm – Distribution only
7:00pm-Mass & Distribution
Mondays during Lent – 7:00 – 8:30pm
Stations of the Cross
Friday evenings at 7:00pm
**Soup Supper served on 3/24 at 6:15, all our welcome to join us
Good Friday – April 14, 2017
9:00am – Morning Prayer (No Mass)
3:00pm – The Passion of the Lord
Holy Saturday – April 15, 2017
9:00am – Morning Prayer (No Mass)
7:30pm – Easter Vigil
Easter Sunday – April 16, 2017
7:30am, 9:00am, 10:30am and 12 Noon
Reflections from parishioners on Lent
Reflections on Ash Wednesday – Richard de la Fuente
Reflections on the first Sunday in Lent – Shannon Jones
Reflections on the second Sunday in Lent – Ray Martinelli
Reflection on the Third Sunday in Lent – Colleen Huber
Reflection on the Fourth Sunday in Lent – Eric Roberson
Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Lent – Dan Pirrello
Stations of the Cross – Adults 2017 – Adult Interpretation
Stations of the Cross – Teens 2017 – Youth Ministry Interpretation
Stations of the Cross Children 2017 – Children’s Interpretation with help from Shannon
Easter Reflection – Richard de la Fuente
2017 Divine Mercy Sunday – Candace Niblett
Recipes for Fasting in Lent
**If you have a recipe you would like to share please click here
Week 1- Friday Fish Fry_Lent Shannon Jones
Week 2-Lentil Chili Shannon Jones
Week 3- Easy Vegetable Barley Soup Jean Ann Strillacci
Week 4-Tomato Spinach White Bean Soup Shannon Jones
Week 5-Black Bean Quesadillas-Shannon Jones
Week 6-Roasted Vegetable Soup-Shannon Jones