First Lent Reflection for 2017

Ash Wednesday, March 1, to Saturday, March 4


Every year, I welcome Lent. I welcome the imperative to focus on prayer, repentance, moderation, and even fasting. Of course, the opportunity exists every day of the year to form ourselves to this discipline, but somehow, at least for me, I fall short and need to start again, every Ash Wednesday.

The tradition of wearing ashes as a sign of humility, mortality, and sorrow is an Old Testament tradition and not mentioned in the New Testament. However, it was made universal throughout the Christian church at the Synod of Benevento in 1091 and may have predated that by 400 years and become current during the Papacy of Gregory the Great (590-604).

Wearing ashes started as a private devotion. It later developed into an official rite to reconcile public penitents and serve as an inspiration and motivation for fellow Christians to pray for sinners and mend their own ways.

I prefer to think of it as private – imitating the seal of Baptism which is both the most private and most communal ritual. For me, Ash Wednesday is the gateway to yet another chance to focus my life, deepen my prayer, and control my physical life. It is a chance to stop and choose a way, instead of tumbling along driven by outside forces. A chance to stop and choose.

We are most grateful for our Lent Reflections writers for 2017: Priscilla Deck, Mary Freeman, Pat Gomez, Margaret Roylance, and Susan Vogt. God bless them for their service.


Readings for Ash Wednesday, March 1

  • Reading 1, Daniel 3:25, 34-43
  • Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 25: 4-5AB, 6 & 7BC, 8-9
  • Verse Before Gospel, Joel 2:12-13
  • Gospel, Matthew 18:21-35
  • Click here to go to USCCB Readings for March 1.

Readings for Thursday, March 2

  • Reading 1, Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
  • Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
  • Verse Before Gospel, John 6:63C, 68C
  • Gospel, Matthew 5:17-19
  • Click here to go to USCCB Readings for March 2.

Readings for Friday, March 3

  • Reading 1, Jeremiah 7:23-28
  • Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 9-8
  • Verse Before Gospel, Joel 2:12-13
  • Gospel, Luke 11:14-23
  • Click here to go to USCCB Readings for March 3.

Readings for Saturday, March 4

  • Reading 1, Hosea 14:2-10
  • Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 & 17
  • Verse Before Gospel, Matthew 4:17
  • Gospel, Mark 12:28-34
  • Click here to go to USCCB Readings for March 4.

Click here to go to March 5 – March 7 …