Ash Wednesday Gospel Reflection

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Ash Wednesday Gospel Reflection

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

by Bernadette Turgeon, SNDdeN

In our Gospel, Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, challenges us to be salt for the earth and light for all in this world to see, and do the kinds of things in any given situation that point us to God.

We are called to be the outward expression of God’s principles, to make a difference by influencing and impacting the world around us, saying and doing the kinds of things in any given situation that help to make the world more like God intended.

When I was a child doing the right thing and helping others, being kind and caring was praised by everyone around me. In our world today it is very difficult for children to do the same. They are made fun of, bullied and afraid. All one has to do is watch the news and read the daily newspaper to realize that the world we live in and many people around us have strayed. I was very touched these past weeks following the death of Kobe Bryant. He was a role model, certainly a person who lived by salt and light principles and the basketball world listened to him.

How does this Gospel reading challenge us? It challenges us by what we do and how we act on a daily basis: reaching out to those in need of food, clothes, encouragement, praising people for the good they are doing and helping our neighbors as needed. Each of us can look around and make a difference in so many ways.

I have been volunteering at a homeless shelter a few days a week. Homeless and the almost homeless come and go all day. The staff try in any way they can to help. There is a table on the first floor that has warm clothes, hats, scarves, socks and toys for children. Where does all this come from? The staff, the police in the neighborhood, the fire department who brought coats at Christmas. In our next town they do not have a poor neighborhood, but they collect food for areas that do. They not only deliver the food but volunteer on Monday evenings to distribute it. At Christmas they bought gifts for a school in a poorer neighborhood.

On this Ash Wednesday and as we begin the Lenten Season may we be responsive just as the Gospel of Matthew challenges us. May we be light and salt for all!

Meet Bernadette Turgeon, SNDdeN

Sr. Bernadette Turgeon has been a Sister of Notre Dame for 62 years. She entered the SNDs in Waltham from Beverly and Andover, Massachusetts. Her first ministry was as a primary grade teacher in Massachusetts. After 14 years, she moved to New Hampshire and began her ministry as a Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry. For 27 years she was the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Manchester. She recently retired from service at the Parish of the Transfiguration in Manchester, NH, working with children of all ages. For the past 16 years she has been volunteering summers at Camp Bernadette, the Diocesan Camp for girls. She hopes to continue this ministry. Sr. Bernadette knows that she has been blessed for those many years to work with children and young adults. These ministries have been for her an honor and a privilege in her life.

Our thanks to the Congregational Mission Office of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, which publishes Gospel Reflections for Sundays and Feast Days.