Homily for Ash Wednesday
For the past year, almost everything has changed because of the pandemic. From the way that socialize with others, to the way we conduct business, schools and so on. Even in our churches and faith communities: the way we celebrate Mass, the distribute communion, the way we celebrate funerals, baptisms, and weddings have been adjusted to cut down on both the amount of people gathered and the amount of movement by the congregations. Ash Wednesday is no different. The way we receive ashes this year will change: Following communion, we will follow the European way of receiving ashes: sprinkled on top of the head… no touching… no talking.
Yes, everything has changed but it’s not permanent. Vaccines are coming the pandemic will end. Yet the Gospel readings call us to ‘change’. Not a temporary change, but rather a permanent change. Lent is the time to look at the heart and to make whatever change necessary to draw us closer to God and one another. Perhaps our Lenten Theme “HOPE” will help us.
At our Liturgy Meeting, we came up with many different approaches for themes for this year. Originally we agreed on a theme: Faith Hope and Love, the three theological virtues. Quickly, the next day, I found this to be very complicated. Therefore, I made the decision to keep it short and simple: HOPE. As a side note, the Pope chose for a Lenten theme: Faith Hope and Love. So to the Liturgy Committee, at least we were in line with what the Pope was praying.
This year, we are going to keep this Lent as simple as possible. Each week we will give you a reflection or exercise to help you discover the “hope” that is abound. You will find it in our bulletins, Website and Faithbook page. I encourage you to share this material with someone who is shut-in, and cannot access the internet. Mass will be offered every day except Mondays and again, those who are shut in, Masses will be available on Salt and Light TV. Each day, I invite to write down on one example of ‘hope’ that you have discovered during your day: an answer to a prayer, a feeling of being loved, the desire to change, a nice phone call, a smile a compliment, a nice walk, the spotting of a robin, and so on.
As Christians, we are people of hope, but hope is always found through cross just as look through the cross of pandemic to find healing. Let us use these 40 days of Lent to discover hope from our own personal crosses, whatever they may be… knowing that Jesus is with us-every step of the way!