Reading for February 17, 2018

 Isaiah 58:9-14

9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, ‘I am here.’ If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words,

10 if you deprive yourself for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkest hour will be like noon.

11 Yahweh will always guide you, will satisfy your needs in the scorched land; he will give strength to your bones and you will be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never run dry.

12 Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you will build on age — old foundations. You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of streets to be lived in’.

13 If you refrain from breaking the Sabbath, from taking your own pleasure on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to Yahweh ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from seeking your own pleasure and from too much talk,

14 then you will find true happiness in Yahweh, and I shall lead you in triumph over the heights of the land. I shall feed you on the heritage of your father Jacob, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

Reading for February 16, 2018

 Isaiah 58:1-9

1 Shout for all you are worth, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet. To my people proclaim their rebellious acts, to the House of Jacob, their sins.

2 They seek for me day after day, they long to know my ways, like a nation that has acted uprightly and not forsaken the law of its God. They ask me for laws that are upright, they long to be near God:

3 ‘Why have we fasted, if you do not see, why mortify ourselves if you never notice?’ Look, you seek your own pleasure on your fastdays and you exploit all your workmen;

4 look, the only purpose of your fasting is to quarrel and squabble and strike viciously with your fist. Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high.

5 Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a day when a person inflicts pain on himself? Hanging your head like a reed, spreading out sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call fasting, a day acceptable to Yahweh?

6 Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break all yokes?

7 Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin?

8 Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh’s glory come behind you.

9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, ‘I am here.’ If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words,

Reading for February 15, 2018

Instead of putting my spin on the scriptures, for Lent, I have decided to post the daily scripture for us all to reflect on and decide what it means to each one of us.  Blessings.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 New International Version (NIV)

ASH WEDNESDAY

 

 

 

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. The ashes we receive today are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of last year. The ashes are blessed with Holy Water and are scented by being exposed to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and sorrow, they are a reminder that God’s graciousness and mercy to those who call on Him during this season of Lent. We are asked to seek mercy during Lent through reflection, prayer and penance. If we followed the example of the Ninevites, we’d be doing penance in sackcloth and ashes.We are only asked to have our foreheads marked with ashes to humble our hearts to remind us that our life will pass away on Earth. That’s why we are told “Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance blessed by the Church to help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave sins performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. I didn’t know the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms and the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins. This reenacted Adam, the first man being turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Holy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

So when we receive our ashes, we could keep our ancestors in mind and prayerfully thank them for their precious teachings. They went through much more contemplation and remorse than we do today. We should have great respect and thankfulness for the teaching they left to us.