Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Jl 2:12-18
2 Cor 5:20—6:2
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. We’ve always been taught to look at Lent as a time of penitence, a time of self-denial and sacrifice, designed to make us ready for Easter. There is nothing wrong with that, indeed being aware of and sorry for our sins is something we should do all the time. Being human, however, we have a hard time doing that, keeping something in the forefront of our thoughts all the time is nearly impossible for us. So we have a time like Lent. I want us to look at Lent just a bit differently this year. Beyond being a time of penance I want us to look at Lent as a time of invitation. Lent is a time when we are being invited to recommit ourselves to what we believe in, to turn once again to God with our whole heart. This Ash Wednesday we mark ourselves with dust, a reminder of the times we have been selfish, the times we fail to love. The ashes mark us in the sign of our salvation, the ashes are an invitation for us to embrace that sign, to embrace that salvation. Ash Wednesday invites us to do as the prophet Joel proclaimed, “Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart.” This Ash Wednesday, this Lent, seize that invitation and turn to the Lord who waits for your return.

Deacon John
Ash Wednesday
Feb. 6, 2008