Outward sign again 

I posted this in 2015 but it still applies today.

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 / CLARELAFFERTY

Ash Wednesday 2015

Matthew 6:1-6


Jesus said to his disciples:“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you

Today, on Ash Wednesday, this Gospel is read. Be careful not to let everyone know what you are doing for your own ego, but do everything in the silence of your heart. So, what do Catholics and Christians do today?

We get ashes on our heads for all the world to see!

I wonder why this particular reading is proclaimed on Ash Wednesday since this seems like a contradiction in its message. But as I see it, the ashes on the outside are for us inside. It is a sign that we acknowledge to all the world that we are sinners only saved by the cross of Jesus Christ. That is why the ashes are made in the sign of the Cross.

Some look at us today and think “Boy, this person is so holy”. Some look and say ” Is it Ash Wednesday already?”. And some just give you a funny look once they get past staring at your forehead.

For me, ashes symbolize all the times that I burned bridges with God because I put my own needs ahead of His. I admit that I am a sinner in need of repentance and salvation that only Jesus gives me.

So, today, think about your ashes and what they mean to you. Let that symbol reach your inner being where you have that private conversation with God. Let Him know that you are going to make this the best Lent ever. Don’t give up something for Lent but give in to the fact that we are all flawed human beings and need God more than ever.

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