Ash Wednesday, 1st March 2017
Even now, ” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with morning; and tear your hearts not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, and repents of evil.
In one of today’s reading, the Prophet Joel call us back. Return to the Lord, your God for he is gracious–for His grace has appeared, bringing salvation to all (Titus 2:11); for the Lord waits to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18); to leave us a remnant and to give us a stake in His holy place in order that He may brighten our eyes and grant us a little substenance in our slavery (Ezra 9:8). Return to the Lord for He is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy–for according to his merciful love and great compassion, he blots out our transgressions and washes us completely from our iniquity thus cleansing us from our sins (Psalm 51:3-4); for he is a God abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6); for he will not turn away His face from us if return to Him (2 Chronicles 30:9).
The Holy Mother Church sounds the trumpet today. Like St. Paul, she calls us to be reconciled to God. She calls us to take on the life of sanctity, the life of holiness. As we commence the journey of Lent today with the reception of ashes on our forehead, we are reminded of our nothingness and our need for Him who can fill up our empty hearts.
Behold, now is the acceptable time (2 Corinthians 6:2). “Even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart…” May the Lord guide our contrite hearts as we find our way back to Him who gives mercy and grace in abundance.