< <  

Wednesday, March 8, 2000

  > >

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12-18
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2
Psalm 51
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

View Readings
Similar Reflections

"even now"

"Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast." —Joel 2:15

Some of us have waited for years to declare a state of emergency in our culture of death. We were waiting for better laws, a new president, more freedom in our personal lives, things to get worse, somebody to tell us what to do, etc. Although we have seen occasional signs of hope, which tempted us to delay acting,  deep down we suspected that now was the time, but we put it off. Now we wonder if we've missed our last opportunity. However, the Church begins this Lent of the year of the Great Jubilee by assuring us: "Yet even now, says the Lord, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning" (Jl 2:12). It is not too late now, but there will come a time when it is too late. Therefore, "now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2)

In this Great Jubilee, now is the time. Go for it. Give and pray as never before (see Mt 6:1ff). Especially, fast as if your life and the future of the world depended on your fasting. Pope John Paul II has prophesied: "Prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil" (The Gospel of Life, 100). Fast the old-fashioned way unless the Lord has shown you a better way. Eat only one full meal a day during the forty days of Lent. Imitate Jesus as He fasted for forty days in the desert. Listen to Pope John Paul II and believe that the Lord has given us fasting as the first and most effective way of participating in His work of salvation. Fast now — even now.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me to fast as Jesus fasted.

Promise:  "Then the Lord was stirred to concern for His land and took pity on His people." —Jl 2:18

Praise:  Accepting the grace to really fast for the first time in her life, Rhonda experienced a life-changing Lent that culminated in her receiving a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999