Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
Joel 2: 12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:20; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

ashes

“Return to me with all your heart…” [Joel 2:12]

It is the yearning of a father as each day he looks on the horizon hoping to see his young prodigal son.  It is the restless looking under every piece of furniture for a coin which a woman cannot find.   It is the worried face of a shepherd wading through the high Palestinian grasses for a sheep that got lost.

“Return to me with all your heart…”

It is the hope at the heart of lifting from the ground a woman caught in the act of adultery
and for her paramour who is nowhere in sight.  It is in the eyes of Jesus as he looks at Peter who in earshot has just denied him.  It is the basis for inviting himself for dinner at the home of Zacchaeus.

“Return to me with all your heart…”

It is in the eyes of Jesus as he hands a morsel of matzo to Judas.  It is in the heart of Jesus as he maneuvers through the entrapments of Pharisees and elders for whom Law is more important than Spirit.  It is the ache in the chest of Jesus every time the disciples do not understand.

“Return to me with all your heart…”

It is the longing of a lover–God every time a prophet is sent to us.

“Return to me…”
It is what Jesus again speaks to you today.

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