Friday after Ash Wednesday
Malvern Minute


Friday after Ash Wednesday

February 19, 2021

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, PA

Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 18-19

Matthew 9:14-15


            Mardi Gras, the traditional New Orleans pre-Lenten celebration, ended three days ago.  In the days and weeks before Ash Wednesday, people who take part in the festivities wear intricate masks to parties and parades.

            During the season of Lent, God invites us to take off our masks.  In our daily lives, we create barriers that hide our authentic selves from each other, and from God.  We put on these masks because we are afraid, and our deepest fear is that we aren’t good enough.  We fear that if we let people get close to us, they will discover that we aren’t charming, patient, loving, honest or generous as our masks portrays us, and so we really aren’t worthy of the love we long for.

            As a result, we keep the people in our lives at a distance and keep our masks tightly in place because we doubt ourselves and are afraid that if we truly become vulnerable and open us our authentic selves, even God might find us unlovable.

            Friends, today’s readings remind us of God’s love and invite us to a true honesty, rather than making a show out of fasting by wearing a sackcloth and calling attention to ourselves.  God asks us to simply treat others more justly, share our bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless.

            The “chaos” of Mardi Gras is over and in the quiet aftermath, we are invited into a deeper relationship with the one who loves our deepest, most authentic selves, more that we can imagine.

Question of the Day:  How will you un-mask yourself to the Lord and present yourself to Him as His beloved child?

Prayer:  “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.”


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