Ash Wednesday


Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Psalm 51

Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2021

We leave the season of ordinary time, where we find Jesus’ discouragement as he meets challenges with religious leaders: “He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign?’ Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” (Mark 8:12)

Ash Wednesday prepares us for Christ’s greatest triumph, His resurrection from the dead. Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence and prepares us for our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This year, we will wear our ashes sprinkled onto our heads, much more consistent with our roots in the Old Testament and in European countries. The Gospel for Ash Wednesday calls us to, “anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden.” Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

What an opportunity for us as Catholics – this is an invitation for us to think about the ways in which we privately pray and the public ways in which we live out our faith. Lent is both an interior journey and a time for us to believe the Good News.

I read an Ash Wednesday reflection by an educator who subscribes to a similar philosophy as I do – being on an academic calendar in a Catholic school gives us so many opportunities to renew and start fresh. We have a fresh start at the start of the school year and another at the New Year. Then some of us subscribe to using our birthday as a time to recommit to personal goals. In our faith lives, we have both the Advent and Lenten seasons, which give us the chance to prepare for Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter.

How will you renew and start again this Lent? How will you turn towards God in your daily life and relationships?

And so we Pray:

Dear Lord,
As we enter this Solemn and Holy Season,
we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit upon us
so that we might prepare ourselves
for these coming 40 days of Lent.
Help us to humble ourselves so that
we can understand the magnificence of Your Love for us,
as You humbled Yourself and gave your Life on the Cross
so that we might receive the gift of Eternal Glory with You.|


This video, from the Archdiocese of Armagh in Ireland, introduces us to the season of Lent from our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic and offers some ideas on how we can mark Ash Wednesday at home this year.