Deacon Greg Beavin:
Saints Mary & Theresa Catholic Churches
“He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Ash Wednesday begins on February 26th. The universal Christian symbol for that day is a cross placed on the forehead, usually made with the ashes from Palm branches used on Palm Sunday from the previous year. The ashes remind us that we were dust at one time and will return to ashes once again at our earthly death until we are raised in our glorified bodies at the second coming of Jesus.
Ash Wednesday also precedes the season of Lent as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter Sunday, in which we celebrate the salvation that Jesus won for us on his cross, by his death and then by his resurrection that defeated sin once and for all.
The ashes are a visual sign and a recognition that as Christians we are called to follow Jesus the best we can as we carry our crosses each day. Our crosses will never win us our salvation; it is only through the unconditional love, sacrifice and the power of Jesus that we will enjoy that victory over sin. What Jesus does ask of us is to give of ourselves, even when it hurts a little in thanksgiving for his love for us.
As we prepare for Easter Sunday, may the cross we wear on Ash Wednesday remind us that Jesus wants us all to rise above the ashes in his Glory.