Universalis
Friday 16 February 2018    (other days)
Friday after Ash Wednesday 

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.

Year: B(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.


40 Days and 40 Ways: Friday after Ash Wednesday
Fasting like yours today
will never make your voice heard on high.
Is that the sort of fast that pleases me,
a truly penitential day for men?
Hanging your head like a reed,
lying down on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call fasting,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
(Is 58:4b-5)
Is 58:1-9a
  This reading from the third and final part of the Book of Isaiah is an exhortation to true repentance, in the same sense as John the Baptist’s message at the ford of the river Jordan. It proclaims the uselessness of the outward trappings and liturgical appearances of repentance, “hanging your head like a reed, spreading out sackcloth and ashes”, while all the time continuing to maintain social injustice and unjust oppression even of fellow Israelites. They complain that the Lord does not see their fasting; the prophet replies that their fasting is worthless, for fasting has value only as a sign of a true change of values. It is the same lesson as the prophet Haggai proclaimed after the return from exile, when they were making no progress on re-building the Temple, when harvests were failing, food was failing to satisfy, and money was slipping through their pockets.
  The same of course applies to us in Lent. There is no point in giving up chocolate if we do not change our ways for the better. Far more valuable is an examination to see where we are failing in our duties and attention to others, harshness, discourtesy, dishonesty, carelessness of the property and rights of others.
  The Gospel reading for the day is Mt 9:14-15.
  Action:
  Pick some action or prayer for the Fridays of Lent which will remind you each week that Good Friday is approaching. Perhaps reflect on one Station of the Cross each week.
Henry Wansbrough

This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Henry Wansbrough, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.

The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.


Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Isaiah 55:3 ©
Come to me and listen to my words: hear me, and you shall have life. I will make a covenant with you, this time for ever, to love you faithfully as I have loved David.

Noon reading (Sext)(Jeremiah 3:12,14) ©
Come back, says the Lord, and I will frown on you no more, since I am merciful and I shall not keep my resentment for ever. Come back, disloyal children, says the Lord.

Afternoon reading (None)James 1:27 ©
In the eyes of God our Father, pure unspoilt religion is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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