Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the Catholic Church's 40-day season of fasting, alms giving, and prayer in preparation of Holy Week and Easter. Today, we are marked with ashes and reminded: "Dust you are and to dust you shall return."
It's easy to get caught up in the gloominess of that sentiment and, indeed, in the penitential rites and rituals that fuel this particular season (Fridays are the worst for a meat-lover like me!). After all, sacrifices, even voluntary ones, are often uncomfortable and prayer, and contemplation tends reminds us of how small, how dust-like, we really are. But the second reading today reminds us not to limit our vision. We may be small, but we are loved immeasurably. We may be limited, but God is not. We may not feel like we're worth much, but God gave Himself through His Son to ensure our future happiness. We may be dust, indeed, but we are dust that are loved beyond all measure.
So take up your cross and remember: the battle is already won and the best is yet to come.
Today's Second Reading:
2nd Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says,
“In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.