Ash Wednesday: Yielding to Refresh

Yielding to Refresh

Ash Wednesday | Today’s Readings

Were you like me and had to hold your breath for a second after reading today’s gospel? 

“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them,” Jesus says. Do it all in SECRET. As if he’s saying: Don’t show off! They’ll see right through you.

It’s easy to be skeptical of good works these days. It’s hard to ignore the barrage of self-interests that have made their way into our culture. We live in a society where the pursuit of love, liberation, and justice have been entangled with viral hot takes, cosmetic hashtags, and clout-chasing, diluting the very real struggles and crises that face so many communities and peoples in our world today. 

And yet, Jesus doesn’t tell us to shy away from those good works; no, he knows his disciples too well. Jesus isn’t worried about their deeds; he’s concerned about their spirits, their motivations, what drives them to do what they do. And so, he challenges them to think differently, to act differently, to move beyond their own egos, their own selves, and to see that their work was so much bigger than any one of them. 

Yielding to Refresh

My friends, as we begin our Lenten journey, Jesus dares us to do the same: to release ourselves, our egos, our self-praises from the struggle, so that the struggle may speak; to yield our self-interests so that the stories of the oppressed may be lifted and listened to. Will we yield? Will we listen? 

Spirit, fall afresh on us, and do what You do best.

Make all things new.

Subscribe to the full Lent 2024: Refresh daily reflection series for free here. 

4 replies
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    The question I constantly have to ask myself is am I doing this for money, or am I doing it because I love doing it and am passionate about helping others? Sometimes when there is no money for food, it is easy to put money first, rather than service first and rely on God to supply all my needs.

  2. Betty MacDonald
    Betty MacDonald says:

    Thank you I have read so many reflections on this gospel that does shock but this was the best in my view. It’s true we often do things even if we mean well and they come from the heart but we like that people notice and thank us and that should be the furthest thing from our minds and hearts rather that God sees and thanks us. One Priest told me that it is something we all struggle with. We like to be liked. We try to be kind and do good things and of course we like when we are appreciated for them but if our only intention for doing them is in the hopes of being thanked or praised then we have to worry as we have already been rewarded and I would much prefer to be rewarded by God the Father.

  3. Rene Prrreault, Jr.
    Rene Prrreault, Jr. says:

    I am an 81 year old man a spiritual director. I wrestle with the poverty of old age both physical and marital. So today’s gospel regarding giving alms is tough since my finances are such, I cannot “give materially”. But as a director I am able to give “me”. I pray during this lent to accept and reverence the gift of myself.

    • sonja
      sonja says:

      Like you Rene, I thought I had nothing to give the homeless, no food or drink. But felt I should go anyway. The greatest need on our planet is for our love. I found myself welcomed into their home without walls. I listened to their story. They thought I was an angel come to visit them. I thought they were Jesus incarnate. We all benefitted and the whole energy in the streets of the city changed. For the homeless may have little materially, but they have a stronger community than many who have a home with a roof to live in. Lent is a time to top up our hearts with love so that our love for others never runs out.


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