First Reading | Joel 2:12-18
Joel’s prophecy today is about the Lord’s wonderful promises for those who place their lives in His hands. Lent is an opportune time for us to evaluate our life’s direction, how we respond to God’s call, and the changes we need to make. Let us make the most of this season to repent of our sins and recommit to follow God’s will for us.
12 Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning. 13 Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. 14 Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, offerings and libations for the Lord, your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; 16 gather the people, notify the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, and say, “Spare, O Lord, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'” 18 Then the Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.
Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
R: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
3 Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 4 Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 5 For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: 6 “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.” (R) 12 A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. 13 Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. (R) 14 Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. 17 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. (R)
Second Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
We procrastinate on some of the things we need to do, but often, these are left undone. Repentance and conversion should never be set aside. We must decide to turn away from sin and direct our lives toward grace, holiness, and eternal life.
20 Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. 6:1 Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Gospel | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus calls us to be faithful to His call and to become the person God has created us to be. Today, people give a lukewarm response to God’s teachings in the Scriptures and the Church. Sadly, we can do better than this hypocritical witness to the world and live sincerely as a Christian.
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
1 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. 2 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. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 5 hen 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. 6 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. 16 “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. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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.”