Lenten Reflection: Feb. 17 (Ash Wednesday)
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FYI – article on the history of Ash Wednesday from ChristianHistory.net
Texts: Amos 5:6-15; Heb 12:1-14; Luke 18:9-14
As we begin our Lenten journey, we are reminded by the Prophet Amos (5:6-15) to reflect on our own motivations and goals in life, asking ourselves whether we are truly ethical and just in all our actions, not merely toward our family and friends, but also toward everyone we interact with, especially those people who are outside our comfort zone. Asian Americans have traditionally placed the welfare and interests of their families and communities first before others. This behavioral trait is rooted in traditional Asian philosophies and is the cornerstone of strong familial and communal ties that are admired by others. Nonetheless, the Prophet Amos tells us that it is not enough to stop there. We should act ethically and justly to everyone, even to strangers and others who may be of lower socio-economic status than us. Have we taken advantage of strangers for our gain? Have we turn a blind eye to the sufferings and unjust treatment of strangers because they are not within our circle of family, friends, community, or church? Have we enriched ourselves by unconscionably exploiting others without regard to the moral-ethical implications of our actions? Now is a good time to take stock of our lives and reorient our priorities, as the Prophet Amos challenges us to “hate evil and love good.”
Jonathan Y. Tan, Ph.D. is a member of the steering committee of the Society of Asian North American Christian Studies (SANACS) and author of Introducing Asian American Theologies (Orbis, 2008). He teaches theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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