Friday of the First Week of Lent




Friday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 228

1st Reading – EZ 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7BC-8

R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
And make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – MT 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Being Real, Being Honest, Being Sincere

Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr – Memorial

“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

Who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Certainly all of us do! That should be our primary goal in life. And, along with that goal, we should seek to bring as many people with us as possible.

Too often we fail to see this as an ultimate goal in life. We fail to keep our eyes on Heaven as the primary reason we are here on Earth. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day satisfactions of what we may call the “mini goals” of life. These are goals such as entertainment, money, success, and the like. And we can often make these mini goals our only goals at times.

So how about you? What is your goal? What is it you strive for and seek throughout your day? If you honestly examine your actions throughout each day you may be surprised that you are actually seeking unimportant and passing mini goals more than you realize.

Jesus gives us one bit of clear direction in this passage above on how to attain that ultimate goal of life – the Kingdom of Heaven. The path He points to is righteousness.

What is righteousness? It’s simply being real. Being authentic. Not fake. And most especially, it’s being real in our love of God. The Pharisees struggled with pretending they were holy and good followers of the will of God. But they were not very good at it. They may have been good at the acting job, and they may have convinced themselves and others, but they could not fool Jesus. Jesus could see through the fake veneer and perceive that which was underneath. He could see that their “righteousness” was only a show for themselves and others.

Reflect, today, upon your own righteousness – your honesty and sincerity in striving for holiness. If you want to daily keep Heaven as your ultimate goal, then you must also strive to make each daily mini goal an honest attempt at holiness. We must daily seek Christ with all sincerity and truth in all the small things of life. We must then let that sincerity shine through, showing what truly lies beneath. To be righteous, in the truest sense, means we sincerely seek God throughout our day and make that sincerity the constant goal of our life.

Lord, make me righteous. Please help me to be sincere in all that I do and all that I seek in life. Help me to love You and to love You each and every moment of the day. Jesus, I trust in You.

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