Ash Wednesday – Year B
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
As the Lenten season begins, we are marked with ashes once again, a sign of humility, a call to repentance, a reminder that “you are dust and unto dust you will return.” The ashes of this day remind us of the words we hear in Matthew’s gospel, words calling us to remain humble in our lives of faith.
This may feel and sound rather contrary to our sense of being joyful gifted.
On the surface, it might seem to be the case. But truthfully, they go hand in hand. We know from all learned about spiritual gifts they are to be used for a greater good, intended to be opened and shared, not hidden and hoarded, nor used for personal gain. In that regard, then, our joyful giftedness is a humble giftedness, indeed we turn away from selfish gains to serve each other and our God.
On this same day, our tradition invites us to “give up” something for Lent. A fine question comes to mind as we make our Lenten commitments in light of the joyful gifts given to us by God. What keeps me from living as a joyfully gifted person? What distracts me? What gets in the way of my sharing the gifts God has given me? As I begin this season of humility what will I give up to freely and joyously share those gifts in the days to come? What will I practice to open my heart to being joyfully gifted for the good of God’s creation?