Homily for Ash Wednesday 2015

Homily for Ash Wednesday 2015

For my Catholic friends

Thine Own Service

Detail from a 14th century diptych in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore Detail from a 14th century diptych in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

In his meditations on the liturgical year the saintly Bishop Richard Challoner recalls an important lesson found in the texts of today’s Mass. In the reading from the prophet Joel the Lord God calls us to conversion: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning; the ashes we receive are a sign of that—‘an emblem of contrition and humility’— and thus an exterior reminder of an interior disposition. To receive the ashes is to give expression to a spiritual reality which is presumed to exist in us; by bearing the mark of the ashes we affirm something that (at least in theory) is already present in our lives.

In her wisdom, however, the Church knows that we fall short of this ideal and so recalls us to the standard…

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