12 “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?”18 Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 6:1-2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.2 For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
1 “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
THE PROPHET JOEL call upon the Hebrew people who have transgressed the commands and wandered from the faith to begin a period of fasting; repent of their sins, present a food offering—a form of punishment of the offerer— so the whole congregation may draw closer to God and hopefully receive Gods mercy and forgiveness.
St PAUL make a sincere appeal to the Corinth community, admonishing those who have departed from Christ’s teachings, to not delay their efforts to return to a state of righteousness. Paul refers to himself as an ambassador for Christ which denote that his proclamation is ‘in personi christi,’ meaning that his words are Christ’s words!
THE GOSPEL READING: The title “disciple” is rooted in the Latin word ‘discipulus’ which denote learner or student. Christ’s makes it patently clear that His students not trumpet or put on a show by disfiguring their faces with an unpleasant, morbit, dismal outlook as if they are at a funeral, when they give alms or pray during the fasting season.
Today, the first day of Lent begins a fourty day period during which the whole congregation of God begins our efforts to be sanctified when we give up or denounce; disordered inclinations, behavioral patterns and appetites that not only injured our marital or family relationships, it poisoned the soul. Essentially, we must avoid the temptation to make a hullabaloo about our efforts to please God to give the appearance of virtue, instead we must surreptitiously with a contrite heart get on with our efforts to do God’s will, so we may be blameless on the day of judgment.
LET US PRAY:Psalms 51:3-6,12-14,17
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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