Daily Bible Reading - February 14, 2024

Daily Bible Reading - February 14, 2024
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Begin Lenten preparation for the Easter Triduum.

Day of fast (ages 18-59) and abstinence from meat (age 14 and up).

Psalter: Week 4 / (Violet)

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14-17: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

1st Reading: Joel 2: 12-18

Yahweh says, “Yet even now, return to me with your whole heart; with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to Yahweh, your God— gracious and compassionate.” Yahweh is slow to anger, full of kindness, and he repents of having punished.

Who knows? Probably he will relent once more, and spare some part of the harvest, from which we may bring sacred offerings to Yahweh, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, proclaim a sacred fast, call a solemn assembly.

Gather the people, sanctify the community, bring together the elders, even the children and infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bed, and the bride her room. Between the vestibule and the altar, let the priests, Yahweh’s ministers, weep and say: Spare your people, Yahweh. Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the people: Where is their God? Yahweh has become jealous for his land; he has had pity on his people.

2nd Reading: 2 Corinthians 5: 20 – 6: 2

So we present ourselves as ambassadors, in the name of Christ, as if God, himself, makes an appeal to you, through us. Let God reconcile you; this, we ask you, in the name of Christ. He had no sin, but God made him bear our sin, so, that, in him, we might share the holiness of God.

Being God’s helpers, we beg you: let it not be in vain, that you received this grace of God. 2 Scripture says: At the favorable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favorable time, this is the day of salvation.

Gospel: Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you,

as do those who want to be noticed in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by people. I assure you, they have their reward. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not be like those who want to be noticed. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone.

I assure you, they have their reward. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you.

When you fast, do not put on a miserable face, as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already.

When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father, who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.


“Rend your heart.”

Today people celebrate Heart’s Day. Today is also Ash Wednesday. During this season, the faithful are summoned to do more works of charity, to pray more intensely and to fast more meaningfully.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us not to trumpet our religious practices out loud but rather to do them secretly. Yet, we may also recall Jesus telling us that our light must shine so that others may see our good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father (cf. Mt. 5:16). However, in today’s Gospel, Jesus also instructs us to keep our good deeds secretly.

Which is which? Today’s Gospel makes it clear. We are not to do our religious practices as the hypocrites do. The hypocrites show one thing while their hearts keep another thing. What would determine the weight of the good things we do is what is inside our hearts.

The first reading from Joel puts it well, “Rend your heart, not your garment.” (Jl. 2:13) Let us get rid of any intention that is not of God and every good deed, whether shown or kept secretly, will glorify God and not our ego.


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