{February 23, 2012}   Ash Wednesday: Do you see your opportunity?

So I went to Ash Wednesday Mass at 7 today and I can say while the homily was short and sweet, I got a lot out of it. I really needed hear what he had to say tonight because I was wondering this whole time “what now?” I know I am just learning walk after two years, first learning to crawl and now walking on my own, but the next step would be to run right? I wondered how do I go about listening and opening myself up for the pieces and answers once again, for my next steps? What are my next steps? While I haven’t quite resolved those questions just yet, the pastor today made a good point. Lent is 40 days for us to get to know God and Jesus.

We are marked with ashes as a sign of reconciliation and rebirth with the sign of the cross being Jesus’ reclaiming us once again like the moment we were baptisted. And this thought provoking question presented by the paster is true.

Its not what are we going to do during Lent but what is GOD going to do for US doing Lent?

This is something that I think many us forget or neglect to think about during Lent. We’re so focused on what are WE going to do such as what to give up but we forget that it’s what is God going to do for us? How is going to reach out to us and what gifts does he have in store for our lives during this Lenten season. The gospel point for today was the traditional one Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them;
 for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven.
 [2]"Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, 
that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward.
 [3] But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 
[4] so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
[5] "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; 
for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say 
to you, they have their reward. 
[6] But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father 
who sees in secret will reward you.
 [16] "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be 
seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. 
[17] But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
 [18] that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

This gospel always speaks to me because it's very true. 
You don't have to go around professing that you are devout Catholic or whatever religion you practice. 
You don't have to post bible scriptures to show you "study or read" the bible at all times and how well versed you are. 
You don't have to say how blessed you are to the world and shun those who may not practice the
 same way you do or "study" the bible as you do. 
You don't have to announce to the world that you go to church every Sunday or how much you give or what you do.
 I've said this before and I'll say it again, your relationship with God is personal, 
something to built between you and him and not the world. 
Just like with any human relationship we have, the one with God is personal as well. 
So I think that's something we first and foremost must try to do, get rid of our pride and need to show off 
"how much we love God and know him". The question is if you do that, do you really know him? 
Maybe this is time to change that type of attitude. 
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
This is what Lent is about. 
Praying to God as if he our friend, our parent, our love, our everything and just talking to him, having a regular conversation
 with him as if we would anybody else. Nothing special. No chants needed. No books. Nothing. Just you and God. 
Fasting or letting of go of what binds us. from what keeps us from God. Whether that be a broken relationship, an insecurity,
 a secret, etc. Letting God give you strength to overcome what keeps your relationship with him, yourself, and others from being stronger. 

Almsgiving by helping not only others but yourself. Fixing yourself through others and by opening yourself up to the mercy
 that God shows us. 

This Lent I challenge you all to find the one thing that keeps your heart locked from God, to unlock your heart and let 
God in to show all the blessings and gifts he has for you during these 40 days and 40 nights. To get to know him, Jesus, and 
yourself freely. 
How will you let God heal you?
 Lent is not a negative time or a time of sadness but something positive. A time for rebirth and rebuilding your relationship 
with God. An opportunity to change and get closer to God once again. 
I will leave you with this tonight my readers...

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