Today sees the start of the solemn Season of Lent. This holy season begins with the blessing and distribution of ashes - hardly one's favourite ceremony of the Church's Year! When distributing ash I always use the first formula 'Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.' Few us look forward to the start of Lent - but from Ash Wednesday our eyes are firmly fixed on Easter - and that is something to look forward to.
As the days begin to lengthen, we should grow in faith. We can do that, of course, precisely by turning away from sin and being faithful to the gospel. A good prayer to use today is the prayer used at the blessing of the ashes. Lord, bless the sinner who asks for your forgiveness, and bless all those who receive these ashes. May they keep this lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter. Amen.
Have a Holy Lent! I shall be posting plenty of examples of gospel teaching during this season.