Friday after Ash Wednesday
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 participate 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 God. We put on those masks because we are afraid, and our deepest fear is that we aren’t good enough. We worry that if we let people get close to us, they will discover that we aren’t charming, patient, loving, honest, or as generous as our masks portray us. We fear we aren’t worthy of the love that we long to have.
As a result, we keep the people in our lives at a distance and keep our masks tightly in place. We doubt ourselves and are afraid that if we genuinely become vulnerable and open to our authentic selves, even God might find us unlovable.
Today’s readings remind us of God’s love and invite us to a genuine honesty, rather than making a show out of fasting by wearing sackcloth and calling attention to ourselves. God asks us to treat others justly, share our bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless.
The “chaos” of Mardi Gras is over, and in the quiet aftermath, God invites us to a deeper relationship with Him, the One who loves our deepest, most authentic selves more than we can imagine.
Question of the Day: How will you unmask 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.”