And so we begin Lent. What are we going off or what are we going to do for the season of penance?
Why do we do penance in Lent?
The obvious answer is to do penance for our sins. There is also the question of what Lent is about. It recalls the fasting of Jesus in the desert.
Lent is a time when we go into the desert of fasting and align ourselves with the work of Jesus. At this time we prepare ourselves by asking questions of ourselves about what we really want in life, God or the world. These are the two basic choices.
But the Church gives us hope, even on Ash Wednesday. The first reading from the prophet Joel tells us of God's delight in forgiving sins.
The second reading from Paul, tells us that God has listened to us in our pain and has come to help us, while the gospel from Matthew reminds us that as we fast we are not to look sorrowful but to behave as normal.
This last bit is to teach us humility and tells us not to think too highly of ourselves just because we are off something in Lent. The gospel reading is designed to help us keep our feet on the ground!