Ash Wednesday: Even Now

Me? You want me to Join You?

Jesus: Matthew, Matthew son of Alphaeus.

Matthew: Yes?

Jesus: Follow me.

Matthew: Me?

Jesus: [laughs] Yes, you.

Simon (Peter): Whoa whoa whoa whoa. What are you doing?

Matthew: You want me, to join you?

Gaius: Keep moving street preacher.

Simon (Peter): Do you have any idea what this guy has done? Do you even know him?

Jesus: Yes.

The Chosen, Season 1 Episode 7

Today is Ash Wednesday and it’s worth repeating the point I made last year about my favorite old testament passage from the Prophet Joel which is the 1st reading at every Catholic Mass today (and which I want to be the 1st reading at my funeral when the day comes).

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.
Joel 2 12-18

This is for my money the most hopeful passage in the entire old testament and the perfect prestaging for the coming of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, not only because of what it says but because what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say…

  • Even Now….unless you’ve had an abortion
  • Even now….unless you’ve cheated on your spouse
  • Even now…..unless you are a thief
  • Even now…..unless you are a drug dealier
  • Even now…..unless you are a murder
  • Even now…..unless you are a terrorist
  • Even now…..unless you are an atheist
  • Even now…..unless you promote sodomy
  • Even now…..unless you’ve sold your soul to the devil

and it’s worth noting that there is no political connection

  • Even now…..unless you voted Trump
  • Even now…..unless you voted Biden
  • Even now…..unless you stole an election
  • Even now…..unless you rioted
  • Even now…..unless you’ve been cancelled
  • Even now…..unless you’ve cancelled someone
  • Even now…..unless you’ve pushed transgerderism
  • Even now…..unless you’re transgender
  • Even now…..unless you’re a communist
  • Even now…..unless you’re a fascist
  • Even now…..unless you’re Antifa

Put simply if at whatever place you happen to be in the now you choose to Turn to God with your whole heart you will be shown forgiveness and mercy.

This is actually where we are every single day of our lives, but every Ash Wednesday the church explicitly reminds us of this remarkable fact.

Here’s the video of Matthew discovering it.

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