By wearing a cross of ashes on their foreheads, Christians ask Gods help to see things as they really are, (Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.) and to set their eyes on what lasts forever. They also express their bond with other disciples of the Lord who publicly wear those ashes on their foreheads.
During the Reformation, most Protestant churches eliminated the use of ashes, along with many other external practices. As a result, a person wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday was identified as a Catholic.
That isnt necessarily true today. In recent years, many of these Churches have been returning to the use of the ashes a a sacred symbol.
Although most Catholics may be familiar with the Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return. The Church also provides an alternative prayer when ashes are distributed. Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, which is taken from Mark 1:15.
The Passion according to Matthew
Jesus said to his disciples, You know that in two days time it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest who was called Caiaphas, and they consulted together to arrest Jesus by treachery and put him to death. But they said, not during the festival, that there may not be a riot among the people.
In Matthews chronology, it is Wednesday, and Friday will be Passover. Jesus will become the new Passover lamb, bringing to his people not freedom from slavery in Egypt, but freedoms from the slavery of sin and the clutches of death.
At the beginning of Matthews Gospel, when the Magi inquired about the newborn king, Herod assembled the religious leaders to help locate the child. He wanted to kill him. Herod failed. Now, at the end of the Gospel, the religious leaders assemble for the same purpose. They will not fail.
You and I survived the first fragile days of life after our conception (some dont,) and weve survived through all the years since then. But one day we shall die. We cant foresee the details, but we can foresee the fact. We shall die. And we shall go to God.
Does the way I am living my life take that into account?
Lent is about more than losing weight.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.