ASH WEDNESDAY 2020 (Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 50(51); 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6,16-18)
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent. Today, we begin the special season wherein we share in the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, Lenten season is forty days of preparation in prayer, fasting and alms giving for the celebration of Easter.
Ash that will be put on our forehead is an outward sign of inward repentance. Based on Genesis 3:19, the ash reminds us of our humanness (we are dust and unto dust we shall return). In the Book of Job 42:6 the ash symbolizes repentance, hence Prophet Joel in the first reading calls us to return to the Lord with all our heats – fasting, weeping, and mourning. And based on the Book of Daniel 9:3, today is a call for prayer and abstinence.
Thus, we are reminded to kneel each day asking the Lord for mercy. The Psalmist says have mercy on me Lord for I have sinned, and he begs God to create in him a pure heart. In order to achieve purity of heart, the Lord calls us to embrace some spiritual exercises. Thus, we are expected to fast which helps us to unite our souls and bodies to God. We are called to give alms not occasionally but regularly to the poor, the needy and to the Church. We are called to pray regularly, that is, to spend time interacting with God for our needs and the needs of others.
However, Lent is not just about fasting and abstinence; it is also a call to intensify our prayer life and commitment as disciples of Jesus. So, let us map out our strategies for the season of Lent. St Paul says in the second reading that now is the time to change; now is the day of salvation; now is the time to re-embrace the sacrament of reconciliation and adoration of the Lord. Spend some time with Jesus and allow Him to direct you.