Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them…” (Matthew 6:1)
Listening to our pastor, Father Eugene Carrella, read Ash Wednesday’s Gospel, we could not help but run through a quick examination of conscience:
Why are we receiving ashes? Do we go to Mass because we have to or because we want to? (e.g., “for the children’s sake,” or Holy Name/Mothers’ Guild Sundays, etc.) Do we go to Mass only when Father (“I Like Him”) is celebrating as opposed to when Father (“What’s His Name”) is on? What is my reason for standing on the Communion reception line?
Pope Francis admonished us to “look in the mirror before judging others.” An occasional reminder of the reverence to be accorded the Eucharist is when we witness someone approaching the priest with arms folded over their chest to receive a blessing in lieu of Communion. Whether the person is simply a non-Catholic or, for some personal reason, chooses not to receive Communion, this act of humility is an awesome reminder of what we believe. The strength and respect that person expresses toward the sacredness of Communion could be one of the mirrors the pope referred to.
Are we truly worthy? If questionable, there is always Reconciliation before getting out of the pew next week in a perfunctory manner—in order that people may see us.
Ken and Pat Horstman
The writers are parishioners of St. Rita’s, Staten Island.