Wednesday, 14 February 2018
1st Reading: Jl 2:12–18
2nd Reading: 2 Cor 5:20–6:2Gospel: Mt 6:1–6, 16–18
Jesus said to his disciples, “Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have been already paid in full.
“If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.
“When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you.
“When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Ash Wednesday falls on Valentines Day this year 2018. Ash Wednesday opens the Season of Lent that spans 40 days. Although it is not a holy day of obligation it requires stringent practices of mortification. People aged 18-59 will eat only one full meal today (fasting). The same age group will be joined by those aged 14 and up to abstain from meat. The imposition of ashes on the forehead has nothing to do with the above-mentioned acts of mortification. It is wrong to say that one can eat meat and exempt himself from eating only one full meal today if he did not line up for the imposition of ashes on the forehead. This is wrong. Non-submission to the imposition of ashes is not license to exempt oneself from fast and abstinence.
Notwithstanding these rigorous acts of mortification, we approach Lent in the spirit of joy. We are excited to have our foreheads marked with ashes to formalize our resolve to do penance. We eat only one full meal today and on Good Friday and avoid meat today and on all Fridays of Lent in order to discipline our bodies and give more attention to our souls. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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