Ash Wednesday

Theme: Journeying with the Lord

Today the church begins the Lenten season for this liturgical year. The season of Lent is a period that opens to us the mystery of human salvation. The signing of ash on our forehead today reminds us about the fact that we are dust and to dust we all shall return. This is a symbol of the finitude of man and our human brokenness; and an opportunity to cling unto the love and mercy of God. As we begin the Lenten season today, we are all encouraged to begin it with prayer, abstinence, fasting and almsgiving. Let us avail of ourselves the grace of God that abounds during this season of Lent. It is a season of great mortification, in preparation for Easter. 

In the 1st reading of today, the prophet Joel presents to us a very important point during this season of Lent. He encourages us to embrace a change of heart; true conversion that comes from the heart and not the usual external show that is made visible to people. We can make this possible by practicing the key tenets of the season of Lent; prayer, fasting and almsgiving. All these will go a long way in our journeying with the Lord during this season of Lent and will help us to become better Christians and ambassadors of Christ. St. Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians in today’s 2nd reading. It is a call to repentance, an opportunity for us to retrace our steps and return back to God.

Lastly, in the gospel reading, Jesus emphasizes the need for us to practice the three key tenets of this season in a way that is rewarding and pleasing to God. We have to practice them in sincerity of heart and secretly, not as a show for us to score cheap points. Let us make effort to make this year’s season of Lent count in our lives.  Abstinence and mortification during this season of Lent is a good way of making this journey of faith with the Lord that will make us a better person at Easter. May the grace of God strengthen and lead us through this season of Lent. Peace be with you.

Homily for Ash Wednesday, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp