Sunday, February 26, 2017

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Beverly Bingle RCWP

In our tradition Lent is the time
to remember Jesus' life and passion and death.
It’s a time of self-examination and penance.
It’s a time when we concentrate on re-shaping our lives
to learn what we can do without
so others can have something to do with.
Let’s start by remembering our unity with all creation,
each of us a part of God’s immense universe.
Let’s remember that we, like all of creation, are important.
Let’s remember that sometimes, though, we think we’re in charge,
that all too often we act like we’re the center of the universe—
as if everything is here for us,
for us to use, even to use up.
Lent calls us to remember that we live in, and through,
connections with all that was and is and shall be,
and that we are responsible for taking care—
care of ourselves,
care of our family and friends and neighbors
and enemies and all humankind,
care of animals and plants,
care of water and sky,
care of the whole planet, our common home.
So we are called this Lent to ask God
to show us where we live in the illusion
that we are separate and apart from the rest of creation.
We are called to ask God
to show us the old, ingrained habits we need to get rid of;
to show us the ways we need to change;
to show us the new practices
that we need to get into the habit of doing.
This is the real work of Lent.
It’s not about guilt or shame.
It’s not meant to make us crawl
or beat us down
or make us suffer.
The real work of Lent
is to renew our sense of connection,
restore our dignity,
and call us to a place where we choose life
and shoulder our responsibility to act co-creatively with God.
So let us answer the call
and take the first step on our Lenten journey.
Call to the Lenten Journey
Priest: Lent calls us to journey along the edge.

All: Lent calls us to the cutting edge,
where the wheat falls to the ground and new life comes forth.

Priest: Lent not only calls us to give up something
but also invites us to participate
in the mystery of God-with-us.

All: God of all creation,
by your grace, call us from grief into gladness, from despair into hope,
from estrangement into right relations with you and with each other
and with the earth.

Blessing and Imposition of Ashes
So we begin.
We declare the fast, call the assembly,
listen to God’s voice, and act on it.
We’ll find the one thing that we can do
to change our lives this Lent—
and doing that, no matter if we stumble at it,
we will change the world.
We will now bless these ashes,
and all will be invited to come forward
to receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads
as our communal act of penance—
the sign of dying to something negative in our lives
and preparing to rise in new and positive ways.
Let us embrace this opportunity to change our lives,
to embody our values,
and to walk humbly with our God.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
(Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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