With trust in God we can, like Jesus, embrace our suffering and let God expand our ability to love - Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal

👇 See below LINKS to past Ash Wednesday Liturgy homilies, blessings of ashes, & exhortations 👇

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Ash Wednesday
                          Sign of the +                            Greeting                        

Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant, priest of Montreal and Madonna House Associate. Today is Ash Wednesday and for most of us it is a virtual Liturgy. Living in this Pandemic is one of our Lenten penances and sacrifices. (Intention) Thank you for your support.


MP3 version                                                                PDF version

It is wonderful to see how much Jesus cares for us. He accompanies us in life and watches over us like an anxious father, like a nurturing mother. Today, on Ash Wednesday, we enter into the Season of Lent. Jesus cautions us to avoid attitudes of hypocrisy. It would be a tragic loss if we were to glue our attention to what other people think of us or how they feel about us.

Jesus, the Father, and Holy Spirit want to expand our ability to enjoy the wedding banquet of Heaven. Eternal life begins here, where we are today, in whatever circumstances, situations, or conditions we find ourselves. Eternal life is knowing we are loved by Jesus and the Father in the Holy Spirit and loving them back as well as we can in our neighbor.

Sadly, whenever we are preoccupied with ourselves, our pleasures, avoiding suffering, or getting more of everything; then God speaks to us the words of Joel. If we disregard the true meaning and purpose of our lives; we find God’s will difficult to accept. What happens to us in life may then feel like punishment, because parents that truly love their children give them proper discipline until the day they become mature enough to give discipline to themselves. 

Discipline is the steering wheel that looks to our true destiny. As we try to love God back by loving our neighbor; like St. Paul we live as missionary disciples of Jesus and ambassadors of Christ. Jesus lets us love people who don’t know the love of God; then the Holy Spirit uses us to show others that God loves them and, in this way, teaches them to love their neighbor as well.

Why is it so difficult to love others? Why does God allow us to suffer? The paradox is that God created us with an incredible desire and capacity for pleasure. God made creation good for us to enjoy it and know that we are also good; our life is a gift from God. However, pleasure alone is insufficient. If I try to live only in the palace of pleasure and try to avoid suffering; then it is impossible to love others because I only want to love myself.

During Lent God our Father calls us to contemplate his Son, Jesus, and with Mary ponder how Jesus lived his life not for himself, but for others. Jesus enjoyed life as we do, but He didn’t accept suffering grudgingly; He embraced it and chose it as what the Father wanted Him to do. Jesus teaches us that suffering expands our mind and soul; it purifies our body and our heart. Our joy is locked in to our loving, and our loving is expanded by embracing our suffering.

O my Jesus, I trust in You; as You trusted in the Father. Open my eyes and heart to love my neighbor and even enemies by simply accepting to suffer them, endure them, and lovingly put up with them. Let this be my Lenten discipline in You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing and Distribution of Ashes  

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MP3 audio files of Fr. Gilles' Homilies from past Ash Wednesday Liturgies

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Ash Wednesday at Saint Luke Parish / Paroisse Saint-Luc 

- 2007 Homily - 2008 Homily - 2009 Homily - Blessing of Ashes - 2010 Homily -

- 2011 Homily - 2012 Homily - 2013 Homily - Blessing of Ashes

Ash Wednesday at Saint Gabriel Parish 

- 2017 Homily - Final Exhortation - 2018 Homily

Ash Wednesday at Saint Anne Hospital  

- 2019 HomilyBlessing of Ashes - 

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits rĂ©servĂ©s AbbĂ© Gilles Surprenant, PrĂȘtre AssociĂ© de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, MontrĂ©al QC

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