Repent and Believe in the Gospel

My family usually observes fasting and abstinence during the Lenten season. To our family, Lent is a season for our traditional pabasa, Stations of the Cross, processions and pilgrimages. My grandmother who was a devout Catholic would often organize the traditional pabasa for our family. In our parish, we are busy in organizing the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross. The Knights of Columbus, which I am an active member, is in charge of the annual Lenten procession.

In the Gospel, Jesus poses an unusual challenge as we begin the season of Lent. We are called to consider why we pray, fast, and give our time and money to those in need. Addressing this invitation demands a degree of honesty with ourselves. Jesus is saying that it is not so important what we do but why we do it that makes the action fruitful and therefore pleasing to God, others, and ultimately ourselves.

Lent is the perfect time to be a living witness to the Gospel. That witness should continue even after Easter and beyond. The Gospel challenges me to think about not just how I can live the Word of God during the next forty days but how can I make it a part of my daily life. Ash Wednesday should not be the only day where people can immediately tell that we are Christians. Our actions should be its manifestation throughout the year. There is no greater compliment than for people to be able to tell that we truly belong to Christ.

By: Sem. Jimwell S. Sales

Today’s Gospel

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

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.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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