Dust in the Wind

March 2, 2022 | N W | Father Salvador

Ash Wednesday
March 2, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Jl 2:12-18 / Ps 51 / 2 Cor 5:20 – 6:2 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor

During the season of Lent, especially Ash Wednesday, we may ask the question, “Why do we use ashes on Ash Wednesday?”  Why not use oil or other things?

If we stop to reflect, ashes are useless; ashes have no value, useless, simply because ashes come from burnt objects.  Of course, the ashes that we use here came from the burning of the palms that we blessed last year.  But there is no value in those ashes.

That’s why, whenever those ashes are imposed on our foreheads, it’s a reminder for us that everything in this world will vanish; that everything in this world is temporary.  Everything that your hand can hold will disappear.  Your dreams, your aspirations in life – they are all temporary.  Even the things that you are proud of – they are not eternal.  The ashes remind us that everything we have in this world – even our own lives – are temporary.  They are like ashes that can easily be blown by the wind, and they’re gone.   That’s why we use ashes on Ash Wednesday.  This will remind us that everything in this world – our own lives, our talents, our dreams — are temporary.  It should always humble us.

Another thing about ashes is that they are itchy.  In the past, when people wanted to repent, they covered themselves with ashes as a sign of repentance.  If you have a wound and put ashes in it, it’s very painful.  But people would endure that itchiness, that pain, as a sign of their repentance.

And again, the ashes are a reminder to us that everything in this world will disappear.  Ashes are also a reminder for us that we all need to repent.  When we repent, we need to make some sacrifices.

During the season of Lent, we are always asked to make some sacrifices.  We cannot just keep complaining; we need to sacrifice.  We need to listen to the will of God in our lives, and allow our problems, allow the trials that may come into our lives, to mold us.  Sacrifice.  That is why St. Maximilian Kolbe once said, “There is no love when there is no sacrifice.”

If you take a look at the word Lent, you’ll see that it is the past tense of the word lend.  When somebody lends, somebody also borrows, and vice versa:  When somebody borrows, somebody also lends.  In this season of Lent, it is a time for us to remember that everything we have in this life is borrowed:  our lives, our talents, our skills, our jobs.  These are all God’s gifts to us; we just borrow them from the Lord.

The greatest lender is not the bank, or the pawn shop, but God Himself.  He lends us even our own lives.  He lends us so much, and there will be a time when we have to return everything He lent us.  Sooner or later, we will have to make an accounting of what we have done with the lives that He gave us.

Lent is a time for us to remember that everything will vanish; everyone needs to repent, and everything will turn into dust.  The only thing that will not turn into dust is the love of God, because this love is forever.  His love for you, His love for me, His love for all of us, is forever.

If you want to find meaning in your life, then cover yourself, not only with the actions of repentance, but also cover yourself with the love of God.  When you cover yourself with repentance and the love of God, then you will surely find meaning and purpose in your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mass Times