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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 22.02.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 22.02.2023

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Joel 2:12-18


Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn

‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –
come back to me with all your heart,
fasting, weeping, mourning.’
Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn,
turn to the Lord your God again,
for he is all tenderness and compassion,
slow to anger, rich in graciousness,
and ready to relent.
Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,
will not leave a blessing as he passes,
oblation and libation
for the Lord your God?
Sound the trumpet in Zion!
Order a fast,
proclaim a solemn assembly,
call the people together,
summon the community,
assemble the elders,
gather the children,
even the infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom
and the bride her alcove.
Between vestibule and altar let the priests,
the ministers of the Lord, lament.
Let them say,
‘Spare your people, Lord!
Do not make your heritage a thing of shame,
a byword for the nations.
Why should it be said among the nations,
“Where is their God?”’
Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land,
took pity on his people.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin. R.

My offences truly I know them;
my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done. R.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit. R.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise. R.


SECOND READING
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Be reconciled to God

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.


GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Ps 50:12,14
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
A pure heart create for me, O God,
and give me again the joy of your help.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!


GOSPEL
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’


Lent REFLECTION —Becoming a “Secret” Christian

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 6:1)

One thing that offers us worldly satisfaction is public praise. We often want others to notice us for what we have accomplished. We want to be admired and can often go out of our way to let others know how much good we are doing. How about you? Do you regularly seek to elevate yourself in the eyes of others?

In the Old Testament, the seeking of worldly honors was common. In fact, the Law of Moses even spoke of these as “blessings” that would be bestowed as a result of obedience to God (See Deuteronomy 28). But a central tenet of Jesus’ New Law of grace was that earthly honors were no longer to be a goal in life. Instead, the interior treasures of holiness and the wealth stored up in Heaven were to be the focus. Today’s Gospel warns us that seeking human praise will result in the loss of recompense from the Father in Heaven. Giving alms, fasting and praying are best done in secret so that “your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

As we begin our Lenten journey, it is a good time to honestly examine the intentions and goals of your life of faith and charity. One goal we must have is to practice our life of faith and charity in a hidden way. There must be a certain secrecy to our life of faith. This does not mean we act as if we are not Christian or act as if we are ashamed of our faith. Instead, the “hidden” and “secret” practice of our faith means that we pray, serve, fast, and grow in our relationship with God because we love God and want to serve His will. It means that our greatest reward is the interior blessings we will receive from a relationship with God. We must look within and discover God dwelling there. There must be an interior intimacy with God that only we see. And this secret, interior and intimate love of God must become transforming and all-consuming. How alive is this interior relationship with God in your life?

The good news is that when we intimately enter into a relationship with our loving God in the secret depths of our souls, God will use us to touch others’ lives. We will not become the envy of others or have as our goal their admiration. We will not become the center of attention. Instead, God will use us to help others look into their own souls so as to discover the love God has for them. In a sense, we disappear in this hiddenness, and it is God Who makes a difference in the lives of others through us. This is authentic faith. This is authentic holiness. This is authentic charity. This is the reason we pray, fast and give ourselves to others. Not for our praise, but for the love of God, the holiness of our souls and the salvation of others.

Reflect, today, upon the simple fact that God wants to come to you in a very hidden and secret way this Lent. He wants to reveal His love to you, personally. Not so that you can tell everyone how holy you are. But so that you will know the love of God within you. Reflect upon this hidden and holy relationship God wants to have with you and know that if you allow it to grow, God will also be able to touch others through you in ways that are beyond your understanding.

PRAYER:
My hidden Lord, You desire to come to me in the secret depths of my soul and to reveal to me Your love. May I meet You there every day and grow more fully in an intimate relationship with You. As You come to me this Lent, please also use me in many hidden ways to be an instrument of Your love for others. All praise and glory to You, O Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.

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