Geeky Catholic Ash Wednesday 2019

Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Highlight: "When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden."

Reflection:  As far as I know, the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is the same every year, so it is probably one of the most heard Mass readings in all of Scripture. I assume everyone is familiar with the message not making a big show of fasting. We're not supposed to spend the whole day complaining about how hungry we are, in order to show off how "holy" we are being. But doesn't the practice of wearing an ashen cross on our foreheads all day contradict this message? As I prepared this reflection, I've come to the conclusion that the two messages do not contradict each other, and here's why. The ashes represent our mortality. "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." They are a sign for us to let go of earthly attachments and draw closer to Christ. The practice of fasting on Ash Wednesday is related, but distinct. Fasting is another way of putting spiritual goods ahead of material goods. But wearing ashes on our foreheads is not a signal to others that we are fasting. It is a signal to non-Catholics that we are Catholic (while this was not the original intent). And it is a signal to other Catholics that we are orienting ourselves towards the next life, instead of obsessively clinging to this one.

Geeky Quote: *snaps fingers* - Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War

Prayer: Jesus, I recognize that this life is fleeting. Bring me closer to you, so that I may spend eternity with you. Amen.

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