It is Ash Wednesday, and here we have the opportunity to return to God’s family. He waits for us to walk the 40 days with His son Jesus.
A Prayer for Ash Wednesday
“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. The days stretch before me and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds your Spirit. This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ’s eyes and the truth and reality of your love incarnate. Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting. And, when I open my soul to your presence, let your loving kindness flow over me and seep into the pockets of my heart. I ask this for the sake of your love.Amen.
How will I practice my journey this Lent? The list of my own sins is long – from gluttony to sinful thoughts, to not loving the unlovable with a deeper heart, and to all those faults I have completed in ignorance. Oh there is my shopping habit! I can only ask for God’s forgiveness and His every giving mercy in acts of penitence.
The list to choose of what to give up with the long term goal to be a better “me” is embarrassingly long. Perhaps, I will cut down to two cups of coffee instead of my daily 5. Or, I can say something positive and thoughtful in the midst of all the rumblings and complaining that’s usually around me – including my own loose tongue – unfiltered.
The point of Lent is to be a better me in my existence and in the process walk more closely in with Jesus. The goal is to be more like him, as he modelled for us while on earth.
Thank you, most merciful God for loving us in completeness in the gift of Your son, Jesus. May the Holy Spirit grace me with a deeper walk with Jesus in his Passion, and in the journey to draw nearer to him, know him more intimately and follow his will more closely.
God Bless all of you during your Lenten journey 🙏💕
a poem i wrote as i reflected upon Your death on the Cross.
i/I cry out
my heart asunder
at what price
my soul so scarred by my sins
a new life i/I now have
washed in Your Blood
by Your death on the cross
my sins an inheritance from my parents
passed into me from that moment in time
the testament of your love
in a gift so free
in Your creation of me
i/I was created to love you
in Your image
i/I were meant as a perfect gift
him/her created to continue your legacy
to gift a love so pure
it can only be mirrored in her and him
the beauty of Eden gone
seduced by the serpent
they left your embrace in shame
now lust and concupiscence
a scar their hearts running deep and forever
until returning as a babe
pure and Divine
Your body hung on the cross
death was defeated
i/I too have crucified you
like one of your accusers
Your sacrifice so great
so that a new life i/I can have
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
18 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”
Jesus before the High Priest
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca′iaphas, who was high priest that year.[a]14 It was Ca′iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Peter Denies Jesus
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, 16 while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants[b] and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Ca′iaphas the high priest.
Peter Denies Jesus Again
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants[c] of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
Jesus before Pilate
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca′iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.[d]29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”[e]30 They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”[f]32 This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” 37 Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
Jesus Sentenced to Death
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barab′bas!” Now Barab′bas was a robber.
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; 3 they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.”[g]8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; 9 he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?”[h] But Jesus gave no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab′batha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
17 So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol′gotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture,
“They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag′dalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.[i]
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus’ Side Is Pierced
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” 37 And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”
The Burial of Jesus
38 After this Joseph of Arimathe′a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicode′mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight. 40 They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
I am set free by Your death on the Cross from the evil that has bound me in sin.
It’s been a heartfelt and spiritual journey this week reflecting on Jesus Christ’s last days before his crucifixion. I feel there is a sadness in Christ knowing that Judas was seduced by Satan and betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.
The king takes the role of servant. There is also a great sense of humbleness and humility in our beloved Christ washing the feet of his disciples.
In the Gospel, Matthew 20:28, Jesus came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus taking a towel and basin expresses His deep humbleness and it foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross – and the washing away our sins.
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
As part of sharing my love for Jesus and meditating on his journey to the cross with my family, I read todays lectionary with my daughter this morning. I gave her a little background on Judas and Peter – one who betrayed Jesus, while the other denied him. Before I could go on one of my rants, my daughter tells me, “Mom, I know!” I think a bad habit I have is to repeat myself thinking my kids are not listening, when in fact they are.
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
Praying has become my daily substance. Not only does it refreshes my soul, but it helps me begin my day with the inner knowledge of God’s grace and presence. I can hear my inner voice singing my own version of Psalms – praising God for a new day, and asking for strength and sustenance.
As a new Catholic, this will be the first time I celebrate the season of Lent. I had many questions: Why do Catholics celebrate Lent? What is Lent? When does it start? How long is Lent? What do we do during Lent? The researcher in me was curious. To find my answers, I asked Catholic friends and did an online search. This is how the hand of God lead me to The Pray More Lenten Retreat.
As we draw near to the season of Lent, the Pray More Lenten Retreat is being offered online. I love the fact that I can participate from home and at my own pace.
“A retreat?” some may ask. Yes! An online retreat devoted to deepening our relationship with Christ. For those like me who juggle many roles and having hectic days is the norm, I like the fact I can tune in when I can, and journey at my own pace. I am excited by their list of speakers. I love inspiring insights that guide me towards a greater focus upon our Savior.
Starting February 17, it will add to my Lent experience, as it is a time to reflect and deepen my prayer life. This retreat will definitely guide me and all participants towards a fuller life in Christ.
Paying to participate in this retreat is not mandatory, as it gives all participants the option to pay or participate for free.
I encourage my readers to sign up for this retreat.
Let us bring before our Lord Jesus all our baggage and put it at His feet. Let Him help us carry our personal yokes, and let us go on a journey of healing with Him. We all lead busy lives, and some of us more hectic than others. Lent is a time for us to take time out to joyfully reflect and draw nearer to Him, and participate at your own pace 💖