Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Ash Wednesday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we begin the blessed season of Lent with the Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. On this day we mark this special occasion with the imposition of ashes on our heads, as a very symbolic act of us recognising our own mortality and the fragility of our existence. And as we impose the ashes on the crown of our heads, it represents our willingness to embrace God’s love and mercy, with repentant hearts and open minds, desiring to follow Him once again and to walk in His presence.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Joel, we heard the Lord speaking to His people calling on them all to return to Him, to repent from their sinful and wicked ways so that they would not end up being separated forever. The prophet Joel, according to history and tradition, lived during the years after the return of the exiles of Israel and Judah from their humiliating exile in Babylon and other places, where for many decades they had to endure the sufferings and humiliation of having no place that they could call home.

They also had to endure the destruction of their homeland, their cities and capital Jerusalem, the Temple and House of God destroyed, and them scattered among the nations. They had to endure all that shame, but God did not forget about them, and as He Himself had promised to their ancestors, that He would rescue them and bring them back to the lands they and their ancestors once owned, thus, God fulfilled His promises to the people, who had atoned for their sins by their struggles and by remaining faithful to Him despite their predicaments. Many of them have regretted their ancestors’ and their own infidelity.

Thus, the Lord has shown mercy and compassion on them, embracing them as He moved the heart of Cyrus, the King of Persia to allow them all to return to their homeland, and not only that, but also to rebuild their cities and the Temple and House of God in Jerusalem. The Lord showed how He still loved them no matter what, and regardless of all that they had done in disobeying Him and betraying Him. However, the Lord also called on them to repent and to change their ways, so that they would sin no longer.

God has always remembered us, and He has given many opportunities to us to listen to Him and to change our ways for the better. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians called on all the faithful to embrace this mercy, compassion and love that God has shown. And today as we listened to these words, we are all reminded of just how fortunate we are that God has always made this available to us, for us to return to Him and to find our way back to Him, and this season of Lent is a perfect opportunity and time for us to return to our most loving and merciful God.

That is why as we begin this season of Lent today, we are all reminded of the importance of this season as a time to prepare ourselves, our hearts and minds, our bodies and our whole entire beings so that we may be ready to welcome the Lord into our midst, to walk with Him and to be in His presence once again. The ashes that came from the remnants of the blessed palms of last year’s Palm Sunday are blessed and then imposed on our heads as the clear sign of our desire to come closer to God and to embrace His mercy, compassion and love especially during this penitential and blessed season of Lent.

And it is important that we understand fully the practices involved in this season of Lent and also on this particular Ash Wednesday. We fast and abstain on this day to mark this occasion of the Ash Wednesday, as we commit ourselves to a time of purification and reorientation of our lives, of our desire to abandon the excesses of worldly attachments and temptations. That is indeed why we practice fasting and abstinence today, and with regards to abstinence which we practice on each Fridays not just during the season of Lent but throughout the entire year as well.

We fast by restricting our intake of food to just one full meal a day with two smaller collations because we want to remind ourselves not to be overcome by greed and by our desires, and to remind ourselves that our physical bodies and existence, the desires of our flesh can and should be transcended, and through this we can also help ourselves to focus better on the Lord. And by abstaining from meat on this day and on other Fridays of the year, we are reminded to focus our attention on the Lord, especially to His most loving sacrifice on the Cross for us, on Good Friday. By the shedding of His Body and Blood, Our Lord has brought salvation upon all of us.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord is therefore reminding us that as we enter into this season of Lent, we should not blindly do what the Church and the Law had instructed us to do, in our fasts and abstinences. We should not fast and abstain because we want other people to see just how devout, holy and committed we are to the Lord, and we should not fast and abstain just because we want to be seen by others and to be praised by them. If we fast and abstain, or do any other forms of Lenten observations and piety for the sake of doing it, or for appearances, then we are not doing it right, brothers and sisters in Christ. Our fasting and abstinence, among other things, are meant to bring us closer to God.

That is why today, on this Ash Wednesday, we must not be superficial in faith any longer. If we have not committed ourselves to a change in our attitudes in life, our outlook and focus, our efforts and others, then we have to seriously begin that change at this very instant. This season of Lent is that time of renewal of our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our souls and indeed, of our entire beings, as we are all called by God to return to Him, to His love and truth, to embrace once again His righteous and virtuous path, His grace and salvation. We may have fallen astray on the path, and have been tempted and dragged once again into the depths of sin, but God has never given up on us. He has kept giving us, again and again, the many opportunities for us to return to Him.

Hence, as we receive the imposition of these blessed ashes, let us not just show our repentance outwardly only, but also strive for a total internal repentance, reorientation and change of our lives, our actions, and indeed, everything that we are, all that we have done thus far. We have to wear those ashes on our heads, as a sign of total humility before God instead of pride. It is not a sign to be shown off as a symbol of piety or superiority over others, as quite a few would have inadvertently ended up making it a show of their faith, or as a measure of holiness and worthiness before God. And in that pride and ego, there can be no true forgiveness and reconciliation, brothers and sisters in Christ.

That is why, more than just receiving the imposition of the ashes on our heads, the crown of our body as a visible and tangible sign of our repentance, what is even more important is for us to rend our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our souls and our entire beings, casting out from them all the vestiges of pride and ego, of ambition, hubris and greed, of all the things that have kept us away from God for so long all these while. We have to cast all these away and renew our hearts, our whole entire beings by humbling accepting God’s freely offered love, forgiveness and mercy. We have to let Him enter into our hearts, to touch our minds and be present within us, in our being, as He dwells in us and among us. We have to allow the Lord to transform our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves this Lent, to be a better person and to be better Christians, ever more committed and dedicated disciples, followers, and children of Our most loving God and Father. Let us all draw ever closer to His throne of mercy, seeking Him and beseeching Him to welcome us back into His presence, as we come to Him not just with ashes on our heads, but even more importantly with the ashes that cover the whole of our hearts, our minds and our entire inner beings, as we show great regret and shame over our many, innumerable sins. Let us all ask the Lord to forgive us and to help us, so that we all may come ever closer to Him and find our true life and salvation through Him.

May God be with us all, and may He bless our Lenten journey and experience starting today, so that we may strive to be ever better Christians, not just in name, but also in words and deeds, in all things. Let us be more loving and charitable this Lent, and also resist the temptations to sin, in various forms and ways, by our faithful practice of fasting and abstinence, done right with the right focus and intent, not for ourselves but for the greater glory of God. May God bless us all, all of our actions, words and deeds, our many upcoming Lenten observances and works, that we may be worthy of Him in the end, when He comes again to gather all of His faithful. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Ash Wednesday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 6 : 1-6, 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness 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 seen in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.”

“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 seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.”

“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 already been paid in full.”

“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.”

Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Ash Wednesday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

2 Corinthians 5 : 20 – 2 Corinthians 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. Scripture says : At the favourable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Ash Wednesday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 5-6a, 12-13, 14 and 17

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind. Against You alone have I sinned; what is evil in Your sight I have done.

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare Your praise.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Joel 2 : 12-18

YHVH says, “Yet even now, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to YHVH, your God – gracious and compassionate.” YHVH 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 YHVH, 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, YHVH’s ministers, weep and say : Spare Your people, YHVH? Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples : Where is their God?

YHVH has become jealous for His land; He has had pity on His people.

(Usus Antiquior) Ash Wednesday (I Classis) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Preface, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Psalm 29 : 2-3

Exaltabo Te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me, nec delectasti inimicos meos super me : Domine, clamavi ad Te, et sanasti me.

English translation

I will extol You, o Lord, for You have uphold me, and have not made my enemies to rejoice over me. O Lord, I have cried to You, and You have healed me.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Fac nos, quaesumus, Domine, his muneribus offerendis convenienter aptari : quibus ipsius venerabilis sacramenti celebramus exordium. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Make us duly fit, we beseech You, o Lord, for the offering of these gifts, with which we celebrate the beginning of the august sacrament itself. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of Lent

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos Tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Qui corporali jejunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia : per Christum, Dominum nostrum.

Per quem majestatem Tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Caeli caelorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, for us, at all times, and in all places, to give thanks to You, o Lord, the Holy One, the Father Almighty, the Everlasting God, Who on those who chastise their bodies by fasting had bestowed the restraining of evil passions, uplifting of heart, and the enjoying of virtue with its reward. Through Christ our Lord.

Through Whom the Angels praise, the Dominations adore, the Powers, trembling with awe, worship Your majesty, which the heavens, and the forces of heaven, together with the blessed Seraphim, joyfully magnify. And may You command that it be permitted to our lowliness to join with them in confessing You and unceasingly to repeat :


Psalm 1 : 2, 3

Qui meditabitur in lege Domini die ac nocte, dabit fructum suum in tempore suo.

English translation

He who shall meditate on the Law of the Lord, day and night, shall bring forth his fruit in due season.

Post-Communion Prayer

Percepta nobis, Domine, praebeant sacramenta subsidium : ut Tibi grata sint nostra jejunia, et nobis proficiant ad medelam. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May the sacraments we have received, o Lord, give us help, that our fasts may be pleasing to You and profitable to us as a healing remedy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Prayer over the People


Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Inclinantes se, Domine, majestati Tuae, propitiatus intende : ut, qui divino munere sunt refecti, caelestibus semper nutriantur auxiliis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Let us pray.

Bow down your heads before God.

Look with favour, o Lord, on those who bow before Your majesty, that those who have been refreshed with the divine gift may ever be strengthened with heavenly aids. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Ash Wednesday (I Classis) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 6 : 16-21

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis : Cum jejunatis, nolite fieri, sicut hypocritae, tristes. Exterminant enim facies suas, ut appareant hominibus jejunantes. Amen, dico vobis, quia receperunt mercedem suam.

Tu autem, cum jejunas, unge caput tuum, et faciem tuam lava, ne videaris hominibus jejunans, sed Patri tuo, qui est in abscondito : et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi.

Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra : ubi aerugo et tinea demolitur : et ubi fures effodiunt et furantur. Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in caelo : ubi neque aerugo neque tinea demolitur; et ubi fures non effodiunt nec furantur. Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum.

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you fast, do not be as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, so that they may appear unto men as fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that you do not appear to men as fasting, but to your Father Who is in secret, and Who sees what is done in secret will repay you.”

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor moth could consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there is your heart also.”

(Usus Antiquior) Ash Wednesday (I Classis) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Gradual and Tract

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Psalm 56 : 2, 4

Miserere mei, Deus, miserere mei : quoniam in Te confidit anima mea.

Response : Misit de caelo, et liberavit me, dedit in opprobrium conculcantes me.

English translation

Have mercy on me, o Lord, have mercy on me, for my soul trusted in You.

Response : He had sent from heaven and delivered me. He had made them a reproach, those who trod upon me.


Psalm 102 : 10 and Psalm 78 : 8-9

Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, quae fecimus nos : neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.

Response : Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostratum antiquarum : cito anticipent nos misericordiae Tuae, quia pauperes facti sumus nimis.


Response : Adjuva nos, Deus, salutaris noster : et propter gloriam Nominis Tui, Domine, libera nos : et propitius esto peccatis nostris, propter Nomen Tuum.

English translation

O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities.

Response : O Lord, do not remember our former iniquities, let Your mercies speedily prevent us, for we have become exceedingly poor.


Response : Help us, o God, our Saviour and for the glory of Your Name. O Lord, deliver us and forgive us our sins for Your Name’s sake.

(Usus Antiquior) Ash Wednesday (I Classis) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour: Violet

Lectio Joelis Prophetae – Lesson from Joel the Prophet

Joel 2 : 12-19

Haec dicit Dominus : Convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro, in jejunio, et in fletu, et in planctu. Et scindite corda vestra, et non vestimenta vestra, et convertimini ad Dominum, Deum vestrum : quia benignus et misericors est, patiens, et multae misericordiae, et praestabilis super malitia.

Quis scit, si convertatur, et ignoscat, et relinquat post se benedictionem, sacrificium et libamen Domino, Deo vestro? Canite tuba in Sion, sanctificate jejunium, vocate caetum, congregate populum, sanctificate ecclesiam, coadunate senes, congregate parvulos et sugentes ubera : egrediatur sponsus de cubili suo, et sponsa de thalamo suo.

Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini, et dicent : Parce, Domine, parce populo Tuo : et ne des hereditatem Tuam in opprobrium, ut dominentur eis nationes. Quare dicunt in populis : Ubi est Deus eorum? Zelatus est Dominus terram suam, et pepercit populo suo.

Et respondit Dominus, et dixit populo suo : Ecce, ego mittam vobis frumentum et vinum et oleum, et replebimini eis : et non dabo vos ultra opprobrium in gentibus dicit Dominus omnipotens.

English translation

Thus said the Lord, “Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.”

“Who knows but He will return and forgive and leave a blessing behind Him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather together the people, sanctify the Church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones and those who suck at the breasts, let the bridegroom go forth from his bed and the bride out of her bride chamber.”

“Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep and shall say, ‘Spare, o Lord, spare Your people, and do not give Your inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations : Where is their God? The Lord had been zealous for His land, and had spared His people.'”

And the Lord answered and said to His people, “Behold I will send you corn and wine and oil, and you shall be filled with them, and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations,” said the Lord Almighty.

(Usus Antiquior) Ash Wednesday (I Classis) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Wisdom 11 : 24, 25, 27 and Psalm 56 : 2

Miserere omnium, Domine, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti, dissimulans peccata hominum propter paenitentiam et parcens illis : quia Tu es Dominus, Deus noster.

Miserere mei, Deus, miserere mei : quoniam in Te confidit anima mea.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

You have mercy upon all, o Lord, and hated none of the things which You have made, winking at the sins of men for the sake of repentance, and sparing them, for You are the Lord our God.

Have mercy on me, o God, have mercy on me, for my soul trusted in You.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Praesta, Domine, fidelibus Tuis : ut jejuniorum veneranda sollemnia, et congrua pietate suscipiant, et secura devotione percurant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant to Your faithful, o Lord, that they may both undertake the venerable solemnities of fasting with piety and carry them through with unwavering devotion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.