Ashes to Ashes

A Homily for Ash Wednesday

Text: St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


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Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who calls us to repentance and new life in himself. Amen.

“Beware of practicing your piety before others.”

“Whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting.”

“When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

We read these words from Saint Matthew’s Gospel every year before we begin our Lenten fast.

Minutes later, we kneel down and receive an ashen cross prominently on our foreheads – an obvious and outward sign that we went to church like good little Christians. Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes”

You Are Dust

A Homily for Ash Wednesday

Texts: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51, St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who calls us to repentance. Amen.

Rarely is the tension of our faith on such stark display as it is today. We sit here, brows smeared with ash, and ponder the words of Christ:

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them….whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others….

On the face of it, there’s a sharp contrast between our Lord’s teaching and our actions. Continue reading “You Are Dust”