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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12-18
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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dust and ashes

“Return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.” —Joel 2:12

On the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, we hear the words from the priest, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Lent is a time of repentance and discipline. Like Job, we “repent in dust and ashes” (Jb 42:6).

Dust plays a role in the cycle of repentance. Jesus spent forty days in the dust of the desert. He had no need to repent, for He had never sinned. Yet Jesus did “not disdain the discipline of the Lord” (Heb 12:5). The discipline in the dust of the desert led to the mortification of the cross. During Jesus’ Passion and death, His blood spilled upon the dust of the earth. Thus the Lord answered the age-old cry of the dust for reparation (see Gn 4:10).

Embrace the dust and ashes of Lenten repentance; embrace the discipline called for in the dust of the Lenten desert. Stay by the Cross of Christ, and let Him transform your dust and ashes into His fruitful garden soil, so you can bear a fruitful harvest for Jesus (Mk 4:20).

Prayer:  Father, make this Lent the most fruitful of my life. Do in me whatever You must in order to do through me whatever You will.

Promise:  “Then the Lord was stirred to concern for His land and took pity on His people.” —Jl 2:18

Praise:  Praise the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into the desert to be freed (Lk 4:1).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For the holiest Lent ever, learn more about the Bible. Listen to, order or download our Overview of the Bible, a small series which has six CDs starting with CD 10A-1 or three DVDs starting with DVD 10A on our website.)

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