Podcast: Ash Wednesday, Year C

Today, the Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday, and it is also the beginning of our Lenten series of this podcast. This series will cover today every Sunday through Lent up to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24th, the 2nd Sunday of Easter.

Entrance Antiphon

“You are merciful to all, O Lord,
and despise nothing that you have made.
You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance,
and you spare them, for you are the Lord our God”
(Wisdom 11:24, 25, 27)

Psalm 51
“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”

Gospel Acclamation

“If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.”
(Psalm 95:8)

Communion Antiphon

“He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night
will yield fruit in due season.”
(Psalm 1:2-3)


Featured Songs






Podcast Transcript

Hi and welcome to the Modern Psalmist Podcast. I’m Rebecca De La Torre.

Today, the Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday, and it is also the beginning of our Lenten series of this podcast. This series will cover today every Sunday through Lent up to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24th, the 2nd Sunday of Easter.

For this series, I’ll be introducing a more ancient form of music in addition to modern sacred compositions. Namely, the entrance antiphons and gospel acclamations will be presented in the style of Gregorian chant. Part of what makes this form so beautiful is that it is specifically composed for the purpose of worshiping God. That purpose makes it very special style of music. I also find it peaceful to listen to and to sing, and an inviting way to meditate on the scriptures.

I’ve decided to compose the entrance antiphons in Gregorian Mode I and the gospel acclamations in Gregoria Mode II for the Lenten season. We’ll switch to Gregorian Mode XIII for Easter. This helps keep some congruency between the weeks of the season, and I hope it will also help this form sound more familiar as the weeks progress.

We’ll start with the Entrance Antiphon for today, taken from the book of Wisdom, chapter 11, verses 24, 25, & 27, which reads:

“You are merciful to all, O Lord,
and despise nothing that you have made.
You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance,
and you spare them, for you are the Lord our God.”

This entrance antiphon reminds us that, despite our shortcomings, our Lord always welcomes us back into complete fellowship with him.

Entrance Antiphon – Ash Wednesday (Mode I, De La Torre)

Today we begin the 40 days of Lent, which includes prescribed fasting, prayer, and repentance. This is the theme of the the responsorial psalm for Ash Wednesday, from chapter 51:

“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”

This is the first psalm I ever composed music for – about 17 years ago. You could say that The Modern Psalmist began with this very psalm.

Biblical scholars attribute Psalm 51 to king David, purportedly composed right after he was convicted of murdering Bathsheba’s husband by having him abandoned on the front lines of battle, then taking Bathsheba for his wife. The passion and grief in his repentance is very thoroughly expressed in the words of this famous psalm.

Psalm 51: Be Merciful, O Lord (De La Torre)

That was “Psalm 51: Be Merciful, O Lord” for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

While the Entrance Antiphon and Responsorial Psalm center around repentance and returning to God, the Gospel Acclamation and Communion Antiphon direct our focus to how we should conduct ourselves after repentance: we need to be attentive to the Word of God.

As a side note I want to clarify that, because it is the season of Lent, we don’t sing Alleluia for the gospel acclamation. Our prayers remain more solemn for these 40 days until Easter when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

The gospel acclamation for Ash Wednesday is taken from Psalm chapter 95, verse 8:

“If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.”

It’s one thing to listen for God’s voice, and it’s even greater actually to *hear* his voice. But then, we have to chose to obey what we hear.

Lenten Gospel Acclamation – Year C (De La Torre, Mode II)

Along the same lines of listening and obeying the Word of God, our communion Antiphon, taken from Psalm 1:2-3, tells us:

“He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night
will yield fruit in due season.”

Communion Antiphon – Ash Wednesday

In the same spirit of repentance and returning to God that really defines the Lenten Season, I composed a song several years ago titled “Lead Me Back to You” when I felt especially dry spiritually. The lyrics are simple, but true and impassioned. I hope you enjoy it.

Lead Me Back to You

That was my original composition “Lead Me Back to You” for Ash Wednesday and the start of our Lenten season and podcast series. Links to all the song recordings and sheet music can be found in the show notes or on TheModernPsalmist.com.

If you enjoy this podcast please be sure to share it with a friend. I’ll be back with the 1st Sunday of Lent in just a few days.

God bless you