ASH WEDNESDAY HOMILY 2023
HOMILY THEME: LENT: A SEASON OF EATING ONE MOI AND SHARING THE OTHER MOI WITH THE LESS PRIVILEGED..
BY: REV FR MAYERE HABILA.
Lent is a traditional Christian spiritual exercise that is observed through the hallow of forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Today we begin a journey of forty days to subdue our bodies and purify our souls. Lent is a holy season where we prepare ourselves spiritually for the great celebration of the paschal mystery (passion, death and resurrection) of Christ which is the greatest celebration of the liturgical year.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday gets its name because of the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the believers.
The ashes symbolizes four things:
In the Old Testament, it was the custom of the mourners to either sit on ashes or to smear themselves with ashes as a sign of mourning. In the book of Job 2:8, when Job was afflicted with suffering, he went and sat in the midst of ashes as a penitent. The King of Nineveh rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes as a sing of repentance (Jonah 3:6). Prophet Jeremiah called his people to repentance and asked them to roll in ashes (Jer 6:26).
In the book of Gen 2:7, when God was creating Adam, he created him out of dust. This teaches and reminds us of our lowly origin, nature and nothingness. We are dust and unto dust we shall return (Gen 3:17-19). Ashes also reminds us of our final destination (Eccles 3:18-20).
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In the book of 2 Sam 13:18-19, when Tamar was in grief, she put ashes on her head.
Job said “Therefore, I loathe my words and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.
The season of lent is a period of reconciliation with God and with each other. The gospel of today presents us with the blueprint of the Lenten season: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. However, we must do all these things without seeking to impress anybody or to get human admiration. On the contrary, let us intensify our efforts and do them as part of our christian obligation to better our spiritual life. If we do them sincerely God will bless us. Our fasting will be mere starvation if it does not come from a pure and genuine heart. So let us tear our hearts not our garments in this holy season of Lent (Joel 2:13).
As we begin this holy season of Lent, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ fill our minds and hearts to always keep and observe his ordinances.
Wishing all of us a very Spirit-filled Lenten season.
Happy Lenten season beloved in Christ.
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