- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

March 1, 2017

Fr. John Eudes, OCSO

8th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:12-18; 2 Cor 5:20-6:2

“RETURN TO ME with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning end your hearts, not your garments.” These words of the prophet Joel serve most appropriately to introduce this season of Lent that we enter upon today. There are two related but quite distinct exhortations in this passage, the first has to do with the bodily while the second makes abundantly evident that it is the spiritual that gives meaning to the outer self and its ways in the world. The times we live are living in render highly appropriate this whole passage by the prophet who lived so many centuries ago. Joel spoke and wrote at a time of serious peril to his people. Anyone who follows recent developments and statements from Rome and the conflicts certain of the Vatican’s statements have provoked even by a number of Cardinals readily appreciates how apt are the prophet Joel’s words for us today. The final words of this prophet’s proclamation are a striking encouragement. May they find their fulfillment in our world these coming days: “Then the Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.”

Saint Paul in the second reading today is very conscious he is writing to a community that has members who are prone to be independent,. He felt obliged to criticize such persons quite sharply in his first Letter to that Church. And so when he mentions in this second Letter to that community he rather more gently reminds them to take his admonitions seriously.  He states it in these words: “We are ambassadors for Christ.” If they wish to find favor with the Lord Jesus, they are to take Paul’s words to heart. “Be reconciled to God”, he adds by working together. “We appeal to you not to  receive the grace of God in vain.” By our Lenten observance we are invited through these words of the Apostle to the gentiles to give our best to respond to the Lord’s teaching. For we are entering upon this special season of Lent , “This is the acceptable time, Behold, this is the day of salvation.”

May we all profit from our heightened efforts in these following weeks to put into practice our Savior’s teaching and example.