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a pastoral ministry of the priests and brothers of the society of st. paul
Year 24 No. 49

Ash Wednesday (A) Violet

March 9, 2011

Its Ash Wednesday. Welcome to

the Church, You Hypocrites!

story tells about a man who

goes to a priest saying,
Father, I do not go to church
because it is full of hypocrites. The
priest answered, My son, theres
room for one more.
Today our churches are full of
people. We, Catholics, flock to our
churches to receive the ashes. Those
who have gone to church today are
easily identified in the streets, buses,
malls, and offices because of the
ashes on their foreheads.
Ash Wednesday is the start of
the Lenten season, which prepares
us for the celebration of Easter. It is
a time to look deep into ourselves.
But did we really come here with
contrite hearts? Are we resolved
not to violate Gods laws again? If
you do not sincerely repent from
your sins and to make amends, you
are hypocrites of the first kind. Do
not come to church just to receive
the ashes. Do not trivialize this
sacred activity. Ashes symbolize
repentance. Repentance sets in when
we acknowledge that we have badly
offended God in spite of his tender
love for us. We humbly accept that
we have not loved in return.
Today, the doors of our churches
are wide open to welcome us, hypocrites, in the hope that we are ready
to make a fresh start. As we enter
the church and find a comfortable
place, as a community, we recognize our sin and guilt. We sincerely
promise to be more faithful to our
baptismal promises. Dont make our
churches a den of hypocrites. They
serve as venues for renewal. Truly,
we will be helped by taking seriously
the Word of God, which is the first
step towards personal conversion.
In the First Reading, God speaks
through the prophet Joel, Return to

me with your whole heart Rend

your hearts, not your garments.
Meaning, stop all your dramas and
theatrics. Dont make a mockery of
me as if I dont know what is inside
you. I want sincerity and honesty.
Stop being hypocrites, wearing
masks of all kinds. You appear nice,
but inside it is full of filth. You have
been dealing with me like that. Are
you not ashamed? Ginagawa ninyo
akong tanga? Marunong din akong
magalit. The prophet calls us to
change to avert punishment.
In the Second Reading, Paul
appeals to the Christians in Corinth
to be reconciled with God. It is
unbecoming of a Christian to remain
in sin. Sin puts us in opposition to
God. To be reconciled with God is
to live according to Gods terms. We
play with his rules, not ours. When
you sincerely receive ashes today,
it means from now on, you will live
righteous lives.
In the Gospel, Jesus exhor ts
his listeners to avoid hypocrisy.
Hypocrites love to be recognized
when performing their religious
obligations. They participate in the
liturgy for a show, to earn credits and
praises, but never to be converted.

God looks into the heart. Jesus

teaches religion of the heart, not
appearances. God wants us to be
docile to his Son. Jesus teaches us
to practice justice and charity. He
wants us to take care of our families, our bodies, our communities,
our environment, and to establish
healthy relationships with them.
If you are here just to receive
the ashes, without the intention of
abandoning your sinful ways, like
drinking, smoking, stealing, cheating, lying, slandering, being abusive,
etc., you are a hypocrite. If you are
here just to receive the ashes without exerting effort to be reconciled
with your brothers, sisters, and
parents, you are really a damned
hypocrite. You multiply your sins
here. Your penalty will be heavier.
Today, we may not look gloomy
like the Pharisees of old when
mor tifying. Here nobody looks
like a hypocrite, because we
have mastered the art of making
ourselves beautiful in appearance.
We should also learn the ar t of
improving our spiritual life, by
listening to the Word of God and
receiving the sacraments.
Before going to bed, as you wash
your face, remember this Greek
saying, inscribed in a mirror in a
washroom somewhere in Europe,
Nipson anomemata me monan opsin.
This Greek sentence, which can
be equally read from left to right and
from right to left, means, Wash the
iniquity, not only the face. If we all
do this, we have just emptied our
churches of hypocrites. We have
just filled our churches with people
beautiful within and without. We are
all ready for Easter.
Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM

Please read the reflection before or after the Mass.

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Entrance Antiphon
(See Wis 11:24-25, 27)

(Recited when there is no opening song)

Lord, you are merciful to all,

and hate nothing you have
created. You overlook the
sins of men and women to
bring them to repentance.
You are the Lord our God.

(The sign of the cross is made here)

P Blessed be the Lord our

God, slow to anger and rich
in kindness. May his love and
mercy be with you all.
All And also with you.
Introduction by the Presider
P Dear sisters and brothers:
Ash Wednesday opens the season of Lent which prepares for
the celebration of the Paschal
Mysterythe passion, death,
and resurrection of Jesus. The
beginning of Lent is marked by
the giving of ashes to signify
our mourning or contrition for
our sins. This sign of penance,
however, should be accompanied by inner conversion, by
metanoia or change of heart.
We rely on the kindness and
mercy of God. Our efforts alone
are not enough.
(The Penitential Rite and the Gloria
are omitted.)

Opening Prayer
P Let us pray [for the grace
to keep Lent faithfully]. (Pause)
Lord, protect us in our struggle
against evil. As we begin the
discipline of Lent, make this day
holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Son, who
lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever.
All Amen.
First Reading (Sit)
The words of the prophet Joel are
both an urgent exhortation and a

comforting revelation. We should

return to the Lord because he is
gracious and merciful. He does
not repay us as our sins deserve.
Rather, he forgives us our transgressions and gives us healing.

1. Have mercy on me, O God,

in your goodness;/ in the greatness of your compassion wipe
out my offense./ Thoroughly
wash me from my guilt/ and of
my sin cleanse me. (R)

A reading from the Book of

the Prophet Joel (2:12-18)

2. For I acknowledge my offense;/ and my sin is before me

always:/ Against you only have
I sinned,/ and done what is evil
in your sight. (R)

EVEN NOW, says the L ord ,

return to me with your whole
heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your
hearts, not your garments, and
return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent and
leave behind him a blessing,
offerings and libations for the
Lord, your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion!
Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Gather the people, notify
the congregation. Assemble
the elders, gather the children
and the infants at the breast. Let
the bridegroom quit his room,
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of
the Lord, weep, and say, Spare,
O Lord, your people, and make
not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over
them! Why should they say
among the peoples, Where is
their God?
Then the Lord was stirred to
concern for his land and took
pity on his people.
The word of the Lord.
All Thanks be to God.
Responsorial Psalm (Ps 51)
R Be merciful, O Lord,
for we have sinned.
E. C. Marfori
Csus-C Dm


4 _ _


mer-ci-ful, O

Am Dm

Lord, for

3. A clean heart create for me,

O God,/ and a steadfast spirit
renew within me./ Cast me not
out from your presence,/ and
your holy spirit take not from
me. (R)
4. Give me back the joy of your
salvation,/ and a willing spirit
sustain in me./ O Lord, open
my lips,/ and my mouth shall
proclaim your praise. (R)
Second Reading
The grace of God appears in
Jesus who delivers us from sin.
Lent is the time to stay close to
Jesus in his work of salvation.
Paul exhorts us to welcome it as
an acceptable time.
A reading from the second
Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (5:206:2)
We are ambassadors for
Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore
you on behalf of Christ, be
reconciled to God. For our sake
he made him to be sin who did
not know sin, so that we might
become the righteousness of
God in him.
Working together, then, we
appeal to you not to receive
the grace of God in vain. For
he says:
In an acceptable time I heard
and on the day of salvation I
helped you.
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the
day of salvation.

h _h h

The word of the Lord.




All Thanks be to God.

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Verse before the Gospel
[See Ps 95:8] (Stand)
All If today you hear
his voice, harden not your
Gospel (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18)
P The Lord be with you.
All And also with you.
P A reading from the holy
Gospel according to Matthew.
All Glor y to you, Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples:
Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people
may see them; otherwise, you
will have no recompense from
your heavenly Father. When
you give alms, do not blow
a trumpet before you, as the
hypocrites do in the synagogues
and in the streets to win the
praise of others. Amen, I say to
you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be
secret. And your Father who
sees in secret will repay you.
When you pray, do not be
like hypocrites, who love to
stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have
received their reward. But
when you pray, go to your inner
room, close the door, and pray
to your Father in secret. And
your Father who sees in secret
will repay you.
When you fast, do not look
gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to
others to be fasting. Amen, I
say to you, they have received
their reward. But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your
face, so that you may not appear
to be fasting, except to your
Father who is hidden. And your
Father who sees what is hidden
will repay you.
The Gospel of the Lord.
All Praise to you, Lord
Jesus Christ.

Homily (Sit)
Blessing of Ashes (Stand)
P Dear friends in Christ,
let us ask our Father to bless
these ashes which we will use
as the mark of our repentance.
Lord, bless the sinner who
asks for your forgiveness and
bless () all those who receive
these ashes. May they keep this
Lenten season in preparation
for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Christ
our Lord.
All Amen.
(He sprinkles the ashes with holy water
in silence.)

Giving of Ashes
(The priest places the ashes on those
who come forward, saying to each:
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Or: Remember,
you are dust and to dust you will
return. Meanwhile, appropriate songs
are sung.)

Prayers of the Faithful

P Let us pray to our heavenly Father that we may open
our hearts to the kingdom of
his Son, stay close with him in
prayer, and be active in works
of charity. We pray:
R Lord, make us your
faithful people.
C That we may welcome
Lent as an acceptable time of
salvation through our works of
fasting, prayer, and sharing, we
pray: (R)
C That the Word of God may
inspire us to have a change of
heart, to turn away from sin,
and to choose to do good, we
pray: (R)
C That the mark of ashes on
our forehead may remind us of
our human frailty and inspire us
to spend the gift of our life for
the building of Gods kingdom
in humility and loving service
of our brothers and sisters, we
pray: (R)
C That those who think they
are better than others, who feel
they have nothing to repent of,

may wake up from their selfrighteousness and join the rest

of Gods people in asking for
Gods mercy and forgiveness,
we pray: (R)
C That the Lord Jesus may
take into paradise the souls of
our departed brothers and sisters, and at the end of our own
journey welcome us to the place
he has prepared for us in the
Fathers kingdom, we pray: (R)
(The urgent concerns of the community are prayed here.)
P Almighty Father, hear
our petitions. May this season
of repentance bring us your
forgiveness and lead us to the
joy of Christs victory over sin
and death.
We ask this through the
same Christ our Lord.
All Amen.
Presentation of the Gifts
P Pray, brethren
All May the Lord accept
the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glor y of
his name, for our good, and
the good of all his Church.
Prayer over the Gifts
P Lord, help us to resist
temptation by our Lenten
works of charity and penance.
By this sacrifice may we be
prepared to celebrate the death
and resurrection of Christ our
Savior and be cleansed from sin
and renewed in spirit.
We ask this through Christ
our Lord.
All Amen.
Preface (Lent IV)
P The Lord be with you.
All And also with you.
P Lift up your hearts.
All We lift them up to the
P Let us give thanks to the
Lord our God.
All It is right to give him
thanks and praise.

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P Father, all-powerful and
ever-living God, we do well
always and everywhere to give
you thanks.
Through our observance of
Lent you correct our faults and
raise our minds to you, you help
us grow in holiness, and offer
us the reward of everlasting life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him the angels and
all the choirs of heaven worship
in awe before your presence.
May our voices be one with
theirs as they sing with joy the
hymn of your glory:
All Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of
your glor y. Hosanna in the
highest. Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. (Kneel)

Acclamation (Stand)
All Christ has died, Christ
is risen, Christ will come
The Lords Prayer
All Our Father
P Deliver us, Lord
All For the kingdom, the
power, and the glor y are
yours, now and for ever.
Invitation to Peace
Invitation to Communion
P Behold Jesus, the Lamb
of God, who conquered sin
and death. Happy are we who
are invited to share in his holy
All Lord, I am not worthy to
receive you, but only say the
word and I shall be healed.
Communion Antiphon
(Ps 1:2-3)
The man who meditates day
and night on the law of the
Lord will yield fruit in due

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, Ash Wednesday, we are beginning the Lenten journey,
a journey that takes 40 days and brings us to the joy of the Lords
Pasch. On this spiritual journey we are not alone because the
Church accompanies and supports us from the outset with the word
of God, which contains a programme of spiritual life and penitential
commitment, and with the grace of the sacraments.
The first appeal is for conversion, a word to be understood
with its extraordinary gravity, grasping the surprising newness it
releases. The appeal to conversion, in fact, lays bare and denounces
the facile superficiality that all too often marks our lives. To repent
[or convert] is to change direction in the journey of life: not, however, by means of a small adjustment, but with a true and proper
about-turn. Conversion means swimming against the tide, where
the tide is the superficial lifestyle, inconsistent and deceptive,
that often sweeps us along, overwhelms us, and makes us slaves
to evil or at any rate prisoners of moral mediocrity
The Repent, and believe in the Gospel is not only at the beginning of Christian life but accompanies it throughout, endures, is
renewed and spreads, branching out into all its expressions. Every
day is a favorable moment of grace because every day presses us
to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust in him, to abide in him, to share
his lifestyle, to learn true love from him, to follow him in the daily
fulfillment of the Fathers will, the one great law of life
Dear friends, while we prepare to set out on the austere Lenten
journey, let us invoke with special trust the protection and help of
the Virgin Mary. May it be her, the first believer in Christ, to accompany us in these 40 days of intense prayer and sincere penitence so
that we may arrive purified and completely renewed in mind and
in spirit at the great Mystery of the Pasch of his Son.
I wish you all a good Lent!
Excerpts from the Message of Pope Benedict XVI
to the General Audience
Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City, Ash Wednesday 2010

Prayer after Communion

P Let us pray. (Pause)
Lord, through this communion may our Lenten penance
give you glor y and bring us
your protection.
We ask this in the name of
Jesus the Lord.
All Amen.
P The Lord be with you.
All And also with you.
Prayer over the People and
P Bow your heads and pray
for Gods blessing. (Pause)

Father, look with love upon

your people, the love which
our Lord Jesus Christ showed
us, when he delivered himself
to evil men and suffered the
agony of the cross, for he is
Lord for ever.
All Amen.
P And may almighty God
bless you, () the Father, and
the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All Amen.
P Our celebration is ended.
Go and keep this Lenten season
All Thanks be to God.

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