The Old Testament reading (Joel) for Ash Wednesday has a vivid image – rend your hearts, not your garments. In today’s Gospel (Matthew), Jesus warns us not to do good things in order to be seen doing good things. Our focus is supposed to be on what’s going on inside.
One of the things that makes Ash Wednesday different from every other Wednesday is the ashes. On your head, in the form of a cross. It’s a powerful outward sign.
And one that can seem in conflict with the focus of the readings on what’s going on inside. But it really isn’t.
Because what we do with our bodies impacts our souls. That’s the “why” behind the ashes - to help us get started on the inside by giving us a push on the outside.
And I could use the push.
Readings for Ash Wednesday: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021815.cfm