Ash Wednesday 2022
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/030222.cfm
THIS LENT, SET YOUR STANDARD HIGH – 40 DAYS TO GREATNESS!
Competition is a part of life. We play games around the kitchen table. We watch our children compete in sports growing up. We try our best to climb the ladder at work for better pay with more responsibility. So it’s no wonder the scribes and Pharisees did their darndest to be better than the common folk.
In the gospel for Ash Wednesday, Jesus tells us not to compare ourselves to other people. That standard is too low. Our potential for greatness (holiness) is much greater, Jesus is our standard, and He welcomes us to be like Him. He helps us, so we will never fail.
He mentions three helps to be like Him: Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. If we think of doing this with the attitude, “Oh, I have to do this, but I don’t want to,” you got it, our standard is too low, and we will give up in no time. Has that ever happened? Remember those New Year resolutions.
See what happens when we pray, help people out and fast with this motivation: “Lord, I know there is a spark of greatness to be like You in me. Unfortunately, it seems I can’t muster up enough effort to get over the hump. I want to in my heart, but it is so easy to give up. I need a push, like trying to get up a hill. Get behind me, Lord and inspire me, motivate me. Nothing can stop us with these three aids – giving alms to the poor more than I usually give, giving you more attention in my day, and giving up that snack or favorite food or activity. It doesn’t seem like much when I do it with you. Ah, that’s when I reach my potential to be the best friend, I can be to you. Forty days to be my best, not a bad deal.
So, Lord Jesus, here is what I am going to do this Lent: _____________________________. Sit with the Lord for a bit, and then fill in the blank. You can do it. Jesus set that standard just for you, and He never fails.
IGNITE THE FIRE
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC