REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT (YEAR A), Week beginning 26TH FEBRUARY 2023
On this weekend, we have the 1st Sunday of Lent. It is a great season of Grace, and it has “hit the ground running”, so to speak. On Ash Wednesday, we had a full school hall with the pupils from Reception upwards, for our 9.15am Mass. There was also a good number present of parishioners and parents of the children. At the Mass, the one prayer with which the children could join in was the “Our Father”, the only prayer Jesus ever taught, the greatest single prayer of all. The children seized that opportunity with gusto. This was most memorable, as was the patient way they all waited at the end to receive their ashes – the use of a cotton bud per person certainly makes applying ashes easier to make a cross-shape, and cleaner for the applier’s hands!
On the evening of Ash Wednesday, we had an excellent attendance at our church Mass, on what is not a Holy Day of Obligation – pretty much, a packed church! 48 hours later, we had the customary Lenten Friday ‘service’ of Stations of the Cross.
Lent is founded upon Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting. Each of these was covered by Jesus in the Gospel for Ash Wednesday, and in this 1-2-3 order. Each is to be done in secret. This is His instruction. In charitable giving, our left hand is not to know what our right is doing. In prayer, we are to go to our private room and pray to the Father in that ‘secret place’. (The ‘private room’ is not the ‘secret place’ – rather it is our personal spiritual centre that earns that designation – our individual ‘inner sanctum’ where God awaits us, ever inviting but never forcing). On fasting, this again is to be done in secret with a joyful heart, not with a long sad face, drawing attention to itself.
MAY WE, ONE AND ALL, SPEND A JOYFUL & FRUITFUL LENT!