February 10, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Jl 2:12-18 / Ps 51 / 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
In the middle of winter, we may find it a little challenging to picture in our minds the season of Spring, with its colorful flowers and green leaves. But we all know that in a few weeks, these seemingly dead trees around us will come to life again. It will help us and make us feel better, if we remind ourselves and each other, time and again, that this particular season will pass and give way eventually to much warmer weather.
In times of weakness, we may find it difficult to feel our strength, and to remind ourselves that we are not ordinary mortals. We are sons and daughters of God, temples of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of darkness, we may have a hard time finding the light, even if we know that it is there, somewhere.
In a few minutes, each and every one of us here will receive ashes on our foreheads. And during the Imposition, the minister will say the words that the Lord said to Adam which are taken from chapter three of the book of Genesis. “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.” Some of us may find these words not so inspiring. But if we listen to these words with faith, they will give us hope and consolation.
These ashes are from the burnt palm branches which were blessed last year, and they are the same branches we used to welcome our Lord into our hearts on Palm Sunday. Today, as we begin the forty day season of Lent, we once again welcome the Lord into our hearts.
Yes, we also remind ourselves of the reality that without God, we are nothing but dust. But in His infinite love and mercy, He gave us life. Moreover, He sent us His only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that all of us here who believe in Him may be saved from the ashes of sin. And after the final blessing, we will all sing with joy, that with God’s help, we will be on our way to rise again from ashes. With the Lord Jesus at our side, and in the company of our brothers and sisters who are members of the mystical Body of Christ, the Church, in the next forty days we will embark on a journey from Winter to Spring, from darkness to light, from death to life.