On Ash Wednesday we will listen to the words of Joel 2:12-18 during the first reading. Leading up to Lent, we hear of what folks will be “giving up during the 40 days.” In that action of letting something go, what are we making room for? What do we intend to fill that void with?
I believe Joel provides us with some direction. “Even now,says the Lord, return to me with your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:12-13)
The invitation is clear, God is inviting us to begin a conversation with Him. Lets face it, things are not right, with ourselves, society and our places of worship. Lent has a unique way to grab our attention. It calls us to a change of heart and mind. It draws us to God’s grace and His merciful embrace.
Pope Francis recently spoke about the upcoming Lenten season. “There is something attractive about Lent beginning in the middle of an ordinary week, catching us in the midst of our daily occupations and asking us to take time out to find God there. Lent doesn’t take us away from our ordinary lives, but rather it invites us to bring a new and holy attention to those activities. God will always surprise us with possibilities when we least expect them. Let this Lent be one of those surprises.”
To begin our Lenten season reflection, after receiving your ashes on Ash Wednesday, look into the mirror and study the cross on your forehead. What kind of cross were you given to carry? Is it big and bold? Barely visible? What is God saying to you this Lent? How are my ashes speaking to me?