I wanted to share the Gospel reading for today, Ash Wednesday:
Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Today I went to church for the noon service and got the ashes on my forehead. I also fasted until sunset, and after hearing this passage from the Gospel, I was humbled.
For Lent this year, I will be giving up all drinks except for water, brewed coffee, and brewed tea. This may not sound like a big deal, but think about all that is included in that. No juice, no Diet Coke (which I drink a LOT of), no milkshakes, no wine, no Starbucks drinks (and I work at Starbucks) . . . a lot! I am also repeating something I gave up last year, which is pastries from Starbucks. Since I work there, we constantly have samples available, or it’s so easy to want a snack and just buy a cookie or something since it’s there. So those are my things that I’m giving up!