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Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Daily Mass Readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

  • First ReadingEzekiel 18:21-28: If a wicked person turns away from sin and does what is right, they will live and none of their past crimes will be remembered. However, if a virtuous person turns to sin, they will die for their iniquity, and their virtuous deeds will not be remembered. The Lord challenges the notion that His way is unfair and reminds the people of Israel to examine their own ways.
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 130: I cry out to the Lord for forgiveness, for if the Lord kept a record of sins, no one could stand. I trust in the Lord’s forgiveness and redemption. Israel, wait for the Lord! The Lord is kind and compassionate, and I have faith and hope in the Lord’s salvation.
  • Gospel Matthew 5:20-26: Jesus teaches his disciples that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees to enter the Kingdom of heaven. He emphasizes that being angry with one’s brother or using derogatory language is equivalent to committing murder and advises his followers to seek reconciliation before making an offering at the altar and to resolve disputes before reaching the courtroom.

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24

Themes for the Readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

The readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent offer profound insights into the nature of repentance, righteousness, and reconciliation. Several key themes emerge from these passages:

  • Repentance and Conversion: Ezekiel emphasizes the transformative power of turning away from sin and choosing righteousness. It underscores God’s willingness to forgive and grant new life to those who sincerely repent, highlighting the dynamic nature of our relationship with God and the importance of ongoing conversion.
  • Responsibility for Personal Actions: Both readings stress the individual’s responsibility for their actions. Ezekiel discusses the consequences of one’s choices—whether to turn from wickedness or righteousness—and the impact of these choices on one’s relationship with God. This theme is echoed in the Gospel, where personal responsibility extends to how one treats others, emphasizing the seriousness of anger and contempt.
  • Righteousness Beyond Legalism: Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of Matthew challenges superficial adherence to the law and calls for a deeper, more genuine form of righteousness. This righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, focusing on the heart’s intentions rather than merely external observance.
  • Reconciliation and Forgiveness: The Gospel passage highlights the importance of reconciliation with others as a prerequisite for worship. Jesus teaches that mending relationships and seeking forgiveness are essential steps before presenting offerings to God, illustrating the interconnectedness of our relationship with God and with one another.
  • The Interior Life: Implicit in Jesus’ call for a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees is an invitation to cultivate the interior life. This involves not only refraining from physical acts of sin but also purifying one’s heart and mind from attitudes and thoughts that lead to sin.
  • Divine Justice and Mercy: Through Ezekiel, God challenges the accusation of unfairness, illustrating His justice in rewarding or punishing individuals based on their current state rather than their past. This theme reinforces the balance between God’s justice and mercy, inviting reflection on how we perceive divine fairness in our lives.

These themes collectively encourage a reflective Lenten journey, focusing on interior conversion, the seriousness of sin (even in its most “hidden” forms like anger), the necessity of genuine righteousness, and the importance of reconciling with God and others as expressions of our faith.

Thoughts for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Matthew 5:20-26 presents us with the profound teachings of Jesus, in which He challenges us to go beyond the letter of the law and embrace the spirit of the law. Jesus exhorts us to surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, who were known for their strict adherence to the law. Jesus reminds us that true righteousness is not about keeping the law as a mere obligation, but rather as a matter of the heart.

The Lord’s message is clear: anger, hate, and violence are incompatible with true righteousness. Jesus condemns not only the act of murder but also the feelings of anger and contempt that precede it. These negative emotions have no place in the hearts of those who seek to follow Christ. The Lord invites us to live in peace with others, to seek reconciliation with those who have wronged us, and to love even our enemies.

Jesus teaches us that true worship is not just about offering sacrifices or fulfilling external religious duties. It involves a personal encounter with God, a transformation of the heart, and a commitment to love and serve others. Jesus urges us to put aside our pride and seek reconciliation with others before approaching the altar of God. We cannot truly worship God while holding onto resentment or animosity towards our neighbor.

Jesus urges us to settle our disputes and grievances with others before reaching the courtroom. He calls us to a higher standard of justice, one that seeks to restore relationships rather than merely punishing wrongdoers. By doing so, we not only prevent further harm and conflict but also demonstrate our faith in a God who is just and merciful.

Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5:20-26 remind us that true righteousness involves a transformation of the heart, a commitment to love and serve others, and a pursuit of justice and peace. As we seek to follow Christ, let us strive to overcome anger, hate, and violence, seek reconciliation with others, and uphold the dignity and rights of all.

Prayer for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Dear Lord, help me to seek true righteousness that surpasses the standards of this world, and to cultivate a spirit of love and reconciliation towards my brothers and sisters. May I strive to settle disputes quickly and seek justice that restores relationships rather than merely punishes wrongdoers. Amen.

Homilies and Reflections
for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Word on Fire: Reconciled

Bishop Robert Barron reflects on the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness, as emphasized in the Gospel for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent. He suggests that unforgiveness blocks God’s movement within us, given that God is love and unforgiveness is contrary to love. He acknowledges the challenge of forgiving when feeling wronged but proposes meditation on Jesus’s forgiveness on the cross as a powerful remedy for overcoming feelings of injustice and resentment, highlighting that forgiveness is essential for repairing broken relationships and facilitating divine action in our lives.

USCCB Reflection: Live Righteously

The USCCB video reflection for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent emphasizes the season as a time for transformation, urging us to live righteously, turn away from sin, and cultivate a life of virtue. It highlights the opportunity Lent provides to treat everyone with justice, grow in faith, and trust in God’s forgiveness and redemption. The reflection encourages creating a new heart and spirit within ourselves, being virtuous and righteous consistently, and not just in appearance. It reminds us that God is loving, slow to anger, and full of kindness, offering redemption to those who acknowledge their sins and strive for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions
for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

What date is Friday of the 1st Week of Lent?

The next date is Friday March 14, 2025.

What are the Mass readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent?

The Mass readings for Friday March 14, 2025 are:
First Reading – Ezekiel 18:21-28: Repentance and Judgement
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 130: Out of the Depths
Gospel – Matthew 5:20-26: Reconciliation and Righteousness

What is the main message of the First Reading for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent?

The main message is that God offers forgiveness and new life to those who turn away from sin and choose righteousness. It emphasizes personal responsibility and the possibility of change, assuring that past sins are forgotten when one genuinely repents.

How does the Gospel for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent define true righteousness?

The Gospel teaches that true righteousness exceeds the legalistic adherence of the scribes and Pharisees, focusing on the intentions of the heart and genuine love for others. It stresses the importance of reconciling with others and controlling one’s anger as essential aspects of living a righteous life.

What lesson does Ezekiel 18:21-28 offer for the Lenten season?

This reading for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent encourages reflection on personal conversion and the mercy of God. It is a reminder for the Lenten season to examine our lives, turn away from sinful behaviors, and embrace a life of righteousness, knowing that God is always ready to forgive.

How can I apply the message of Matthew 5:20-26 in my daily life, especially during Lent?

You can apply its message for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent by striving for sincerity and depth in your spiritual practices, seeking reconciliation with those you may have conflicts with, and being mindful of your emotions and reactions towards others to foster a more compassionate and understanding heart.

What does Friday of the 1st Week of Lent teach us about God’s justice and mercy?

It teaches that God’s justice is tempered with mercy, valuing our current state and willingness to change over our past misdeeds. God invites everyone to repentance and offers forgiveness to those who turn back to Him with a sincere heart.

Why is reconciliation emphasized in the Gospel reading for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent?

Reconciliation is emphasized to illustrate the inseparable link between our relationship with God and with others. Before we approach God in worship, we are called to be at peace with our brothers and sisters, reflecting God’s love and forgiveness in our own relationships.

Can the theme of personal responsibility in Ezekiel 18:21-28 be related to modern life?

Absolutely. This reading for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent highlights the importance of being accountable for our actions and making conscious choices towards good or evil. This message is timeless, reminding us that our decisions have consequences and that we have the power to shape our destiny through our actions and repentance.

How does Friday of the 1st Week of Lent challenge conventional understandings of sin and righteousness?

It challenges these understandings by equating attitudes of anger and contempt with more grievous sins like murder, and by calling for a righteousness that is not just about external observance but about the purity of one’s heart and intentions.

What practical steps can one take during Lent, inspired by the readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent?

Practical steps include engaging in sincere self-examination, seeking reconciliation with those we have wronged, participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and committing to acts of kindness and mercy that go beyond mere observance of religious duties.

How does Friday of the 1st Week of Lent help prepare us for Easter?

These readings for Friday of the 1st Week of Lent encourage us to engage in deep personal conversion and to focus on the core aspects of our faith: repentance, reconciliation, and living out a righteousness that comes from the heart. By doing so, we prepare ourselves to fully experience the joy and renewal that Easter brings.

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