Ash Wednesday 18 Feb 2015: a three minute meditation for today!
Today’s readings: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18; 2 Cor 5:20-6:2
Dear loving brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, today we are entering the holy season of Lent with the mark of the cross on our forehead. The mark of the cross signed on the forehead is apparently less attractive for it is neither beautifully drawn nor is it in fine colors. However, it is the symbol of our salvation achieved through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. When this sign of the salvation is marked on my forehead today with ashes, on the one hand, I proclaim to my dear ones, neighbors, and friends that I am entering into an intense forty days of prayer, fasting, and repentance; and on the other hand, the very fact that I received the sign of the cross in a community liturgical context makes me also aware of my responsibility to help each other by encouraging and praying for its fruitful completion.
The ash sign of the cross marked on our forehead may not last even for a day because it is washable. However, this external sign of the cross should be taken into our heart and mind that we may be internally and consciously prepared for the Lent. As we heard today in the gospel reading, whatever sacrifices we do, and whatever prayers we pray in this season are not for showing ourselves to others, but for the reparation of my sins and the sins of others in private. Then only, our Father who is in heaven will reward us. Prayer and fasting combined together is the powerful victory flag against Satan and his legion. Jesus Christ himself has reminded and assured us of that Satan and his legion could be defeated only through prayer and fasting: “Only prayer and fasting can drive this kind out; nothing else can.” (Mt 17:21)
Let this season also be a season of praying for others, especially for those who find for themselves difficult to get rid of their sinful ways and habitual sins; for those who are away from faith and religious practices; and for those who are suffering for the sake of Jesus in different parts of the world. In the first reading St. Paul reminded us of this aspect: “Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21) I don’t say that I wish you all a blessed Lenten season, rather let us wish each other a blessed and fruitful Lenten season and pray for each other.
Greetings! May God bless you and your dear ones with his grace and peace! Amen.