March 1, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Jl 2:12-18 / Ps 51 / 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Today we begin our journey with the rest of the members of God’s family, who are all trying to be closer to God during this season of Lent.
In the first reading, which is taken from the book of the prophet Joel, we are being reminded to return to the Lord. In the next forty days, we will once again be asking ourselves the most basic questions about our faith and about our relationship with our God. Are we closer to Him today than we were last year?
The good news is that we have a God who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in kindness. He is always more than willing to give us another chance. Our presence here during this Ash Wednesday liturgy is a sign of our repentance. We acknowledge that God and sin just can’t go together. As we receive ashes, we will not only be reminded of the fact that we are dust and unto dust we will return, but that as God’s children, we will always turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. To do this we need to be always in communion with God through prayer. In the gospel, Jesus didn’t say IF you pray or if you fast, but he said WHEN you pray. This means that prayer is the most basic part of our life with God.
In the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Norway, 33-year-old Tommy Moe of the United States won the gold in the men’s downhill. After his victory, Tommy explained his thought process. “I kept it simple,” he said. “I focused on the skiing, not on winning, and I remembered to breathe.” The winner of the gold medal in the Olympics had to remember the most basic of basics: breathing. Likewise, as we seek to have a strong journey with God, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we need to do the most basic thing in our spiritual life and that is to live always in God’s presence and pray always.