February 17, 2021 – Ash Wednesday

Fr. Manoling Thomas, CSsR

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This day ushers in, the beginning of the Season of Lent in our Catholic Liturgical Calendar. “Lent” comes from an old English word for “spring” one of the four seasons in colder countries. For those of us living in the tropics, we may not appreciate much the noticeable change or transition from “winter to spring”. We can then focus on the practice in the early church before the “infant baptism”. Those preparing for baptism on the Easter vigil, begin their “instructions or catechesis on the faith” today. They were called the “catechumens”.

How about us, who are already adult, baptized Christian Catholics? How can we creatively envision the Season of Lent? We can liken it to Jesus inviting us to embark on a 40-day journey or pilgrimage with him! We will be with other disciples of Jesus, whom he has also invited! Our destination: Jerusalem. Expected day of arrival: on Palm Sunday, the start of the “holiest week of the year” [Holy Week].

What possible activities we can engage in during these “40 days”?

1)  With the help of the Holy Spirit, to discern what “repair work” has to be done in a specific area of our life. Will it entail a repair, or a remodeling, or a cleansing and healing? Discus this matter with Jesus! 

2)   Select a good book that is simple, readable, and will be helpful for the purpose of your journey with Jesus.

It will be helpful if during this journey, you will find a fellow Christian also in the journey, with whom you can prayerfully and freely share your realizations. Encourage and help each other as you journey with Jesus!

The Holy Spirit may suggest to you other nourishing and fruitful ways to do this 40 days journey! Be open to the Holy Sprit!

If you have decided to accept Jesus’ invitation, then step forward to receive the ashes. This will indicate your willingness to join the 40 days pilgrimage! Although you are doing this with other disciples of the Lord, this journey is “a walk on a very personal road” from where you are at present to where Jesus invites you to go!

If this invitation is late in reaching you, you can still catch up!

[source: Daily Homilies vol. 3, Krempa]


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