Pondering for Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Part 1 of 2

Daily Office Readings for Ash Wednesday: Year 1

AM Psalms 9532, and 143; PM Psalms 102 and 130 ;  
Jonah 3:1 to 4:11Hebrews 12:1 to 14Luke 18:9 to 14

“But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  (Jonah 4:1 to 3)

While the Book Jonah may be fictional, it is a good lesson about the hate that can well up in us regarding people we don’t like, but who God loves.

Many of our Bible stories are about getting alone with others, especially those who differ from us. This Lent, and in this time of social distancing let us learn to spiritually embrace those who are different from us in any way.

Part 2 of 2

New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Ash Wednesday: All Years

2nd  Corinthians 5:20 to6:10  Matthew 6:1to6and16to21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6: 19 to 21)

Moth, rust and even thieves, are not eternal; they can’t follow you into heaven. Personally, I don’t like the “Reward Seeking” aspect of this teaching.  It teaches us to do good for a good that will come to us later. It smacks of “Works Righteousness” to me. As the old Christmas song goes, we should “be good for goodness sake.” 

Also, I like switching the wording around from what the writer of Matthew has written.  I prefer, “For where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.”  Our hearts determine what our treasure is. Our treasure may be the company of good friends, or the company of the Great Cloud of Witnesses, the saints, who have gone before us. Let the moths, rust and thieves have the money. 

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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