Ash Wednesday March 6, 2019
Is it Lent or Advent? It’s soooo cold!
Winter is passing and Mother Nature is preparing for Spring. There are signs of Spring from longer days of light to tulip tops tapping beneath the snow.
I say to the missionary it’s REALLY cold. As I walk to my post I see signs of Lent – big bold black ashes in the shape of a cross. When we were young we loved getting a lot of ashes on our forehead. Well tonight we loved it too.
The mission night despite the cold was going to be fabulous. Maybe we wouldn’t have to ask “Are you Catholic” so many times because the ashes were a dead give away! The night was about spreading the love of Jesus and inviting people to a renewed relationship with the Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We meet Mindy who was already ashed. But I had to ask, “Have you been to confession?” I could tell by the look on her face she was impressed we were on the windy corner in sweatshirts inviting people to the church and saying God bless you. The missionary walked Mindy to the church and when she returned with a bright smile she thanked us calmly saying, “If you hadn’t asked me I would have never gone to confession. Thank you.”
When it’s 22 degrees with an 8mph wind and it feels like 13.7 degrees time goes by sslow-ly. We continue to greet the passersby and have half a conversation with one man. If only I knew back years ago when I took a Russian language course that I could use the Russian tonight. We show the flyer with a cross on it to the man and invite him to get ashes. The man says yes and off he goes with the missionary who figures out en route this man is Russian Orthodox. They arrive to the church and the missionary starts hand gesturing with five fingers and a sign of the cross that the Penitential Rite will begin in five minutes. Then in response came a nod and a smile.
This missionary in Manhattan wants you to know that tonight was a gift of sharing His amazing love. The confession lines grew and after a very large crowd gathered to celebrate mass. The cold air could never keep us away.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
As we begin the Lenten journey I pray we may all unite in His wondrous love.