Tuesday 16 December 2014

Ash Wednesday

Many things that we see around us may seem beautiful, pleasing to see, or attractive, but when these things are burnt, the only thing left are ashes. No matter how grand, stylo milo, or shockalingam the item or even a person may appear, all of these will no longer be identifiable once reduced to ashes. Many of us would normally not want to have anything to do with ashes, since such ashes are merely dust. But when we look at ashes through the eyes of faith, we begin to see its true value. Ashes remind us that everything that we own, every relationship that we cherish, are impermanent. Ashes also remind us of our mortality and we should not only focus on things and people here on earth, since all of these will eventually disappear, all of these will return to dust.

Today we celebrate Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the season of Lent. For us Christians, ash is used as a sign of penance. Each of us may come from different backgrounds, different ethnic groups or even different social status, but no matter who you are or where you come from, all are invited to come forward to place ashes on your forehead, all are equally sinners in need of salvation. In this way, we are all equal in the eyes of God; we all require forgiveness and redemption.

This season of Lent is an opportunity for us to die to sin; to die to its illusions, its lies. Sin misguides us into thinking that we only need to think of ourselves. Sin lures us with the ways of the world and blinds us to the ways of God. Instead of giving into sin, our focus should now be turned toward God. In God, we shall discover our true worth and our true purpose, and we will find our resting place and our true home. Thus, in this season of Lent, let us increase our efforts to examine our lives and turn back to God and depend on His providence. Let us heed the call to "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."

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