Ash Wednesday

Today’s Readings: Joel 2: 12-18, 2 Corinthians 5: 20 - 6:2, Matthew 6: 1 - 6, 16 - 18

Lent begins today. It is a “favorable time,” a season of grace. We are called to go up with Christ to Jerusalem, the place where he will suffer and die before he will rise in glory. This means that we are called with him to suffer and die to ourselves, to sin and to give up the evil in and around us, so that we can rise, individually and as a community, to a deeper Christian life, become more available to God and to people, and capable of rendering service with love. The way is conversion, repentance, summed up in today’s gospel as almsgiving, that is, caring for people; as praying, that is, listening to God’s word and giving it a response of love and commitment; and as fasting, that is, giving up our selfishness. We express our willingness to be converted when, after the gospel, we receive the ashes.