Ash Wednesday Gospel reflection: An outward sign of our faith

A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. (Psalm 51:12)

Ash Wednesday, in all its solemnity and reverence, is one of my favorite religious days.

I love the humble act of repentance, the cross formed by ashes across my forehead reminding me that without Christ, I am nothing more than ashes. As I emerge from the quiet of Mass into the glare of my church parking lot, I imagine the dusty gray cross looks even bolder in the outside light. 

It remains on my forehead for the remainder of the day. People with similar markings catch my eye and smile. Others, with barren foreheads, stare and wonder. It catches my own attention if I glimpse my reflection in a mirror or window. It is a day to reflect inward, certainly, in preparation of the Lenten journey ahead. But it is also a day to express our faith outwardly, to remind the world that each of us must carry our cross with compassion and courage­ — in the image of our Savior.

— Kristin Armstrong


Joel: 2:12-18

Psalm: 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Ash WednesdayashesJesusKristin ArmstrongLentLiving with ChristMatthew 6:1-6Matthew 6:16-18
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