Father Hager Homily

Homily for Ash Wednesday

We all are busy people.  Our jobs, our families, our studies, our relationships are very demanding.  We have all heard it said that time is money.  We expect every investment to pay off;  we demand results.  After all, there are futures to be built, careers to be advanced, fortunes to be made.  In the midst of perhaps the busiest time of our busy year, we hear the prophet Joel's "trumpet"  announcing the beginning of another Lent.  Who has time for Lent some think.

Some dismiss Lent as a pious antique of a time long past, when farming was most everyone's profession and Lend came just before the spring planting.  But the hearts that beat within our weary bodies, the spirits that struggle within our own overwhelmed lives at times yearn to respond to Joel's Ash Wednesday summons.

The Season of Lent calls us to stop, to look at the lives we are leading and to realize the hypocrisy that may exist between what we believe and the way we live, the things we seek and the paths we take.

To accept these ashes today, then, demands a certain courage and resolve on our part.  They are a sign of our turning off the well traveled but directionless road the world and culture place before us to walk.  And instead remind us to choose the seldom traveled and uphill road to God.

These ashes come at a price:  they require that we empty ourselves of our own sense of importance in order to realize the full meaning of God's love, importance, and sacrifice in our lives.

But these ashes are also the sign of God's great promise to us-the transformation of our fears and doubts into hope and joy, the transformation of our loneliness and despair into acceptance and meaning.

We pray, on this day, Gracious God, be the Light that illuminates our Lenten path over these next forty days.  Give us the courage to turn away form the harsh demands of our schedules and calendars-that's for you too kids-so that we may realize the preciousness of time.  Give us, Lord, the humility to lose ourselves in prayer, fasting, and works of love, so that we may rediscover our identity as your sons and daughters rejecting sin.

We have forty days to concentrate on this.  Receiving ashes we know is not just we Catholics do, it is our commitment to taking this Lenten Season seriously.  We have all begun well, let's continue to make more room for the Lord in our lives.  We are busy people, but never too busy for God and for another Lent to improve our spiritual lives before Him!  

May God Bless us all with a good Lent!!!