Scripture Reading: 2 Cor. 5:18-20

Today, being Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our 40 days spiritual journey with Jesus, in preparation for the celebration of Easter. This 40 days spiritual journey with Jesus is popularly known as Lent. Lent provides the time for self-examination, prayer, fasting, charity and reconciliation with God, by focusing our prayers and meditations on the passion and death of Jesus our Redeemer on the cross of Calvary.. “Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life… Lent is like a long ‘retreat’ during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual ‘combat’ which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Dear friends in Christ, verse 20 of our scriptural reference says: “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” We represent Christ in an ambassadorial capacity, with an appeal, which is; “BE RECONCILE TO GOD”. How can we reconcile the world to God, if we have not gotten the experience of being reconcile to God? What is that separating you from reconciling to God? The Holy Spirit speaks to you again, “BE RECONCILE TO GOD”. Do not allow today to pass you by without deciding to repent. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said “Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent?  Our indifference, our hardness of heart.  What are we to believe?  Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” It is not just about giving up our favorite food but it’s about going further and giving up things like hatred and unforgiveness. You need to clean your heart and prepare yourself for purity. “Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.” (St. Benedict). Andrew Murray would say; “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.

Child of God, Ash Wednesday calls us to reconcile with God, in order to walk closer with Him this Lenten journey of beholding Christ crucified. Gal. 5:24 says “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”Let tears of repentance now wash the nest. St. John Eudes concludes this reflection thus: “Let us therefore give ourselves to God with a great desire to begin to live thus, and beg Him to destroy in us the life of the world of sin, and to establish His life within us.”

Prayer points:

  1. Make a prayer of repentance from the depth of your heart
  2. Pray for our hearts to be softened towards one another, so that we can give and receive forgiveness readily within our families, churches and communities.
  3. Pray that God will help us to seek ways to bring reconciliation where there is estrangement, restoration where there is brokenness, and comfort where there is mourning..
  4. Pray for the grace to have a fruitful Lenten spiritual journey with Jesus

Exercise: Endeavour to utilize the grace of sacramental reconciliation today for Catholics.