On this sacred Ash Wednesday, we are called to heed the profound words of the prophet Joel, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning”. As we embark on the Lenten journey, a season of grace and spiritual rebirth, let us embrace this time of prayer, penance, and reconciliation with God.
In the midst of the solemn imposition of ashes, we acknowledge our sins and express our sincere desire for conversion, seeking God’s mercy and pardon. Just as the psalmist humbly confessed, “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness… Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me”. Let us, too, turn to the Lord with contrite hearts, recognizing our faults and asking for His forgiveness.
As we reflect on the suffering and tragedies in our world, let us respond to the urgent call to conversion for ourselves and for others. Through the austere rites and prayers of Ash Wednesday, we are invited to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, remembering our mortality with the words, “Remember, that you are dust and unto dust you will return”.
May this Lenten season be a time of deep reconciliation with God, with ourselves, and with our neighbors. Let us follow the example of Our Lady of Sorrows, embracing the journey of true conversion and facing the battle against the spirit of evil with the arms of penance. As we rend our hearts and not our garments, let us rediscover the joy of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
As we begin this “acceptable time” of Lent, let us open our hearts to be reconciled with God in Christ Jesus. May this season be a period of spiritual renewal, a time to draw closer to the Lord, and a journey towards the Easter Triduum, the heart of our liturgical year.
Monday of the 3rd week in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings speak about the theme of leadership and the challenges that come with it. In the passage from 2 Samuel, we witness the anointing of David as king over all Israel. This moment marks a significant turning point in the history of God’s people, as David becomes the shepherd and leader chosen by God to guide and protect His flock.
David’s anointing as king reminds us that leadership is not about power or personal ambition, but about service and obedience to God’s will. David’s reign is characterized by his fidelity to the Lord and his commitment to justice and righteousness. He is a shepherd-king who cares for his people, just as God cares for His children.
In the Gospel of Mark, we encounter a different kind of leadership – the leadership of Jesus. The scribes, who were supposed to be the religious leaders of the people, accuse Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul, the prince of demons. They try to undermine His authority and discredit His message.
But Jesus, in His wisdom, exposes the fallacy of their argument. He explains that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that He drives out demons. Jesus’ authority comes from God, and His mission is to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
The encounter between Jesus and the scribes teaches us an important lesson about leadership. True leadership is not about seeking personal glory or asserting one’s own authority. It is about humbly submitting to God’s will and using our gifts and talents to serve others. Jesus, as the perfect leader, shows us the way by His example of selflessness and love.
We can ask ourselves: What kind of leaders are we called to be? Are we willing to embrace the responsibility of leadership with humility and obedience to God’s will? Are we ready to serve others and put their needs before our own?
We should remember that leadership is not limited to those in positions of authority or power. Each one of us, by virtue of our baptism, is called to be a leader in our own sphere of influence – whether it be in our families, our workplaces, or our communities. We are called to be witnesses of Christ’s love and to bring His message of hope and salvation to those around us.
May the example of David and Jesus inspire us to be courageous and faithful leaders, guided by the Holy Spirit and rooted in the love of God. Let us pray for the grace to embrace our vocation as leaders with humility, wisdom, and a deep sense of service. May we always seek to build up the Kingdom of God and bring His light to a world in need.
The Art of Preaching
The question was asked of people in St. Peter’s Square, “What makes a good homily.”
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From the Chicago Dominicans to bolster our faith through these trying times of the pandemic. These are daily homilies, about 3 minutes each, that break open the Bible scripture reading
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek.”
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!”