Readings for Wednesday, March 1, 2017 Ash Wednesday Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Joel 2:1-2; 12-17
  • Psalm 51:1-17

Alternate First Reading and Psalm

  • Isaiah 58:1-12
  • Psalm 51:1-17

Second Reading

  • 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Gospel

  • Matthew 6:1-6; 16-21

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Through the prophet Joel YAHWEH warns of an impending “Day of the Lord” and pleads with his people to return to him in sincerity of heart. He calls for a fast that goes beyond mere outward observance to one that relies instead on his steadfast love and mercy. The Psalmist, face to face with the ugly reality of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit and a new heart. His present heart, broken and repentant, must therefore be offered up as a sacrifice to YAHWEH, in whose love and mercy it will be found acceptable. St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked and suffered much, although, as he relates in a series of wonderful paradoxes, he has been blessed abundantly at the more important spiritual level. Jesus teaches that going about our religious observances in order to impress others reveals that it is not the things of heaven that are of ultimate importance to us. If our hearts are truly oriented to God, we will be happy that only he knows that we do these things and he will provide the appropriate blessing in due course.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Through the prophet Joel YAHWEH warns of an impending “Day of the Lord” and pleads with his people to return to him in sincerity of heart. He calls for a fast that goes beyond mere outward observance to one that relies instead on his steadfast love and mercy.

Psalm

The Psalmist, face to face with the ugly reality of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit and a new heart. His present heart, broken and repentant, must therefore be offered up as a sacrifice to YAHWEH, in whose love and mercy it will be found acceptable.

New Testament

St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked and suffered much, although, as he relates in a series of wonderful paradoxes, he has been blessed abundantly at the more important spiritual level.

Gospel

Jesus teaches that going about our religious observances in order to impress others reveals that it is not the things of heaven that are of ultimate importance to us. If our hearts are truly oriented to God, we will be happy that only he knows that we do these things and he will provide the appropriate blessing in due course.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Isaiah voices YAHWEH’s displeasure with the people of Israel who seek to draw near to him through fasting but who do not observe his ways. He does not respond to such religious observances, but insists that caring for those in need and ending injustice are what he is looking for. This is a true fast, one that will ultimately lead to the restoration of the nation. The Psalmist, face to face with the ugly reality of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit and a new heart. His present heart, broken and repentant, must therefore be offered up as a sacrifice to YAHWEH, in whose love and mercy it will be found acceptable. St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked and suffered much, although, as he relates in a series of wonderful paradoxes, he has been blessed abundantly at the more important spiritual level. Jesus teaches that going about our religious observances in order to impress others reveals that it is not the things of heaven that are of ultimate importance to us. If our hearts are truly oriented to God, we will be happy that only he knows that we do these things and he will provide the appropriate blessing in due course.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Isaiah voices YAHWEH’s displeasure with the people of Israel who seek to draw near to him through fasting but who do not observe his ways. He does not respond to such religious observances, but insists that caring for those in need and ending injustice are what he is looking for. This is a true fast, one that will ultimately lead to the restoration of the nation.

Psalm

The Psalmist, face to face with the ugly reality of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit and a new heart. His present heart, broken and repentant, must therefore be offered up as a sacrifice to YAHWEH, in whose love and mercy it will be found acceptable.

New Testament

St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked and suffered much, although, as he relates in a series of wonderful paradoxes, he has been blessed abundantly at the more important spiritual level.

Gospel

Jesus teaches that going about our religious observances in order to impress others reveals that it is not the things of heaven that are of ultimate importance to us. If our hearts are truly oriented to God, we will be happy that only he knows that we do these things and he will provide the appropriate blessing in due course.

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