HOMILY FOR ASH WEDNESDAY. FIRST DAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: RENDER YOUR HEARTS NOT YOUR GARMENTS
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
The Prophet Joel reminds us that we should rend our hearts and not our garments in the first reading today. Always there is a danger in Lent that we try to become spiritual athletes. Lent is not about becoming strong but about allowing our weakness to be penetrated by the Lord. The Lord is always gracious and merciful and wants our hearts conformed to His heart.
The second reading today is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians and reminds us to be reconciled to God! We want to be on loving terms with God always. God is faithful to us and we are not faithful to God. And so we need reconciliation. We should not be ashamed to be sinners—that is simply how we find ourselves in our human condition. On the other hand, God has offered us His life and we should take advantage of His offer. Lent is a time to listen to the Lord working in our hearts and in our world and seek a way to grow more deeply in His love and His purposes.
The Gospel today is from Saint Matthew and reminds us that we are seeking an interior reformation, not something to show off to others. What we want most of all is a deep aware of God’s love for us and to return God’s love to God with joy and gladness by loving others. It is this personal relationship with God that we seek, not the notoriety of being someone who is good or who helps everyone else. We can be good at many levels and help others at lots of levels—and never seek the Lord. We are invited in Lent to see God in all that we do and say and think.
Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB
Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico