By Fr. Jim Kelly,
No wonder we want to keep complaining about the powerful winter weather – we have had blizzards, freezing rain, snow-squalls, melting snow, and drifting all at the same time. But we are also thrilled and want to brag about it. Many of us boast that “this is nothing compared to when I was young.”
When I was growing up in Barrie, for example, it was nothing to walk to school through two feet of snow all uphill, and then to walk back home through three feet of snow, all uphill!
But we have a more serious matter. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In days gone by people were more aware of Ash Wednesday because it called us to accept hardship.
Across the world, millions of Catholics who are living in great poverty will go to church on Wednesday and receive ashes on their forehead. The ashes are less a sign of penitence then of reality: “I am a poor sinner.”
For us on Manitoulin and the North Shore is our response so clear? It would be very good to attend Mass on Wednesday and receive the mark of the ashes. It would also be very good to make some commitment.
For example, some have promised not to eat meat for the full forty days of Lent. Some have actually chosen to give up smoking cigarettes for all of Lent. Others affirm that they will not drink alcohol in these weeks. Others will pray and do acts of kindness.
We are asked to look at Jesus Christ who went into the desert for forty days. He ate very little and was tempted by the Devil. The Devil mocked Jesus and told him straight out that he would fail.
Lent calls us to look at Jesus Christ and acknowledge that he opened the way for us.