Ash Wednesday – Fr. Dustin Collins
March 6, 2019 – 8:00 am
On Palm Sunday we celebrate Christ’s joyful entry into Jerusalem. It was here that palm branches were placed along His path and the crowd joyfully came to proclaim: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” It would only be a few days later that this crowds’ joy would fade into hate. They would now shout: “Crucify Him!”
Now these palm branches have been burned and turned into ash. There is a connection to this joyful entry into Jerusalem because from we too stretch from belief to unbelief. We have entered into the waters of baptism, thus being marked as a follower of Christ, and yet we still reject Him. You can say that in the midst of our sin we stand with the crowd and shout: “Crucify Him!”
Very soon we will dare to bare a mark of ash upon our forehead. Throughout the pages of Sacred Scripture we are not told that ash is a sign of pride, but rather we are told that it is a sign of repentance for one’s sinfulness. I find it odd that so many pride themself for this mark of ash, I find it odd that those who step into Church two or three times a year come out of their way to receive this mark, I find it odd that those who have resolved in their heart that they don’t need the Sacrament of Confession would dare to bare this mark.
To dare to bare this mark of ash is to profess that you are a sinner who is in need of God’s mercy. To dare to bare this mark of ash is to profess that you are a sinner who needs to prevail themself to the Sacrament of Confession. To dare to bare this mark of ash is profess that you are a sinner who is in need of Christ and His Church in your life thus you attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. To dare to bare this mark of ash is to profess that you are a sinner who does not find pride in your sin, but sorrow.
Through Ash Wednesday we enter into the Sacred Season of Lent. May we use this time set before us to reorient our life towards God in order that we may truly come to rejoice with Him anew on Easter Sunday. “Repent and believe in the Gospel” for “You are dust and unto dust you shall return.”