Ash Wednesday

Lent line art

Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:12-18  +  2 Cor 5:20–6:2  +  Mt 6:1-6,16-18
February 10, 2016

“For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin….”

Ash Wednesday’s Second Reading contains a powerful statement.  It could be used for reflection every day during Lent, and we’d never exhaust its meaning:  “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin….”

This statement is divided into three phrases.  The first is based on sinful man, the second on the Father, and the third on the Son.

Take each phrase one at a time:  repeat that phrase over and over (preferably out loud, but at least mentally) for a few minutes.  Within each phrase, emphasize the word which is in capital letters here:  “For our sake, [the Father] made him to be sin:  [Jesus,] who did not know sin….”

This emphasizes how these three are inter-related within the mystery of Lent:  God the Father, God the Son, and us (let’s call “us” the person of the Church).

Having meditated on each of these three phrases, hone in on the middle phrase and spend at least ten minutes reflecting on it.  This phrase captures the horror and the love of Jesus’ Via Dolorosa“…he made him to be sin….”  What can this possibly mean?  Our reflection during Lent ought to lead us into both the mystery of iniquity, and the love of God in sending His Son to become sin for us and for our salvation.