The FREE Online Version of The Sunday Liturgy is discontinued from 01 December 2019. Subscribe to The Sunday Liturgy Digital Edition to read it online.
The Sunday Liturgy Vol=47, No-1 Dated 01 December 2019 is now available in PDF format. Click Here to read online or to download. The Sunday Liturgy Vol=47, No-2 Dated 08 December 2019 is now available in PDF format. Click Here to read online or to download.
Vol: 46, No.18 ASH WEDNESDAY ( C) March 06 2019  
through works of penance and charity, we may turn away from harmful pleasures and, cleansed from our sins, may become worthy to celebrate devoutly the Passion of your Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For you will that our self-denial should give you thanks, humble our sinful pride, contribute to the feeding of the poor, and so help us imitate you in your kindness.
And so we glorify you with countless Angels, as with one voice of praise we acclaim:
All: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts
He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield fruit in due season. (Ps 1:2-3)

May the Sacrament we have received sustain us, O Lord, that our Lenten fast may be pleasing to you and be for us a healing remedy. Through Christ our Lord.

It is uncertain when the Book of Joel has been actually written, but according to modern scholars the book seems to have been written about 350 B.C. Joel probably has lived in Jerusalem. Joel’s prophecy is occasioned by a terrible plague of locusts, which has devastated Judah’s crops and made life miserable for the nation. Joel tells the people of Judah to fast and pray for relief. He promises that God will take pity on Judah and restore their fortunes. Today’s reading emphasizes Joel’s call to repentance (1:12-17). In the prophetic tradition, this call emphasizes that true repentance is an inner re-orientation and commitment: “Rend your hearts, not your garments” (2:13). At the same time, Joel insists that regular cultic rituals are to be observed and he calls the priests to gather the entire community for a public ceremony in order to grieve for its sins and appeal for God’s compassion and assistance. Conversion is an urgent invitation to return and to encounter the living God. It is an experience of God who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and full of love. Conversion has an outward expression of fasting, weeping and mourning which are only signs of a deeper reality that consist in returning to God with all our heart.
The apostles like Paul and all believers are sent into the world as God’s ambassadors with the mission of announcing the message of reconciliation. Paul then argues that
God has made Jesus to become part of the sinful humanity, although he is without sin, so that in him we become the righteousness of God. God has made Christ one with the sinful humanity in order to make the human race one with his obedience and saving justice. The relevance of this reading for Ash Wednesday is what Paul says in the final verse, “Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.” We have the opportunity to make this time of Lent for our spiritual renewal.
The gospel brings out three acts of piety: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. The three acts of piety were important aspects of Jewish religious life in Jesus’ time. Jesus is not criticizing the acts of piety as such. His target is the errant style of those who turn the acts of personal piety such as almsgiving, prayer and fasting into public displays. It is the brazenness in personal piety that is criticized here: drawing public attention to almsgiving, praying in public places so as to be seen and appreciated by others. Such people will have to be satisfied with public recognition as their reward. They will get no reward from God. On the other hand, God will reward those who keep secret their private acts of piety.
In today’s liturgy of the Word each of the biblical authors offers us profound messages. Joel brings the message of repentance, Paul advocates reconciliation and the gospel warns us against the public show of piety. All our spiritual acts should be kept in private. Ash Wednesday demands it.
– AK Visit us at:
Forthcoming Issues
Cycle C
Copyright © 2019 St Pauls India.