Reflection by Leona Peszka
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 – Ash Wednesday
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus talks of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, now the three pillars of our Lenten season. In most cases when we hear the word Lent or these three words, we think of the negative, of some deprivation. We can almost hear the communal groan as we are marked by the sign of the cross with ashes on our forehead; the resounding struggle to figure out what to “give up” for Lent. When explaining the concepts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, Jesus is very specific on what we should do and, in turn, what we should not do to please our Father in heaven. He warns us of drawing any attention to ourselves and challenges us to pray, fast and give with humility. He encourages us to incorporate these practices in our daily lives, knowing that there is no earthly repayment possible. Lent is what we make of it.
This season, will we pray aloud and try to impress those who are listening, or will we find a quiet place and have a dialogue with God? Will we fast all day, only to have a meal of lobster thermidor when no one is looking, or will we focus on what Jesus endured for us, forgoing a lavish meal? And will we tithe, knowing that a pew will soon have our name on it for everyone to see, or will we be charitable with our time, talent and treasure, and accompany others on their journey with Christ?
Lent is a gift and an opportunity. While some might choose to lament the cost to them, let us strive to follow Jesus’ perfect example of sacrifice and rejoice in this sacred occasion to cultivate a true and everlasting relationship with our Father in heaven.
How will you bring joy to others during this Lenten season? Will you pray, fast or give?
Lord, help us to unite ourselves to You in Your walk of the cross this Lent, so that we may unselfishly pray, fast and give to others, always for the glory of God.
Copyright 2019 Leona Peszka
Leona is currently working for the Diocese of St. Petersburg in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute. Commissioned as a Lay Ministry Leader, her ministry involvement includes: Theological Reflection Mentor, Spiritual Director for Christ Renews His Parish, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Parish Council Member, RCIA Catechist, and a Youth Minister. She is a graduate of the University of Tampa with a degree in Psychology and Speech/Theatre.
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