Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

On Ash Wednesday, we go to Mass and the priest smudges his thumb into the dust of last year’s Palm Sunday leaves. He makes a cross on our foreheads, and we freely choose to wear the ashes for the rest of the day. The phrase “you are dust and to dust you shall return” is said as a reminder of our sinfulness, and as we begin this repentant season of Lent, I pray that as a community we can start to look at Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in a new way—finding a renewed necessity for the gift of eternal life. Then, with awareness of this beautiful reality, we can become entirely ourselves in His image and likeness.

Today, the Gospel of Matthew says, “Your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” So what’s the point in outwardly exposing our weakness by wearing these ashes? We wear them as a sign of repentance. To “repent” means to make the conscious choice to turn away from sin and turn toward God. We are actively growing in humility by expressing our need for God, and as Lent begins, we can further grow as disciples in spreading the good news to all people.

By doing this, we also invite others to understand the beautiful reality of our faith: that sometimes we are broken, lost, and confused, but Christ’s love breaks down a multitude of barriers that we put on our hearts. So during this Lenten season of redemption, self-denial, and love, let’s meditate on the words of Pope Francis, “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept it in a spirit of penance.”

Holy Spirit come, come now, and come as You wish. Amen.

Kaitlyn Callahan, ’18

First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6a, 12-14, 17
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website


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