Just before leaving the office yesterday afternoon for prayer, evening news and dinner, I happened to pick up the phone call from a woman asking me what part of the Mass the imposition of ashes takes place. Towards the end, after communion, I hurriedly said and was going to explain the reasoning behind but the next thing I heard was thank you and hanged up on me. Come Ash Wednesday and the days prior, I’ve learned to sound like an answering machine for the most anticipated question that is, mass times but it was something more than expected. After the 7am Mass, I brought ashes with me to the rectory and office just in case, someone showed up for a drive thru ashes, no one did though.
The fact that the church is packed on Ash Wednesday and half empty on some Sundays, there’s something on this day that hardly hits the souls of the faithful. It’s the recognition that we are mere mortals (Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return) and the need for mercy and forgiveness (Repent and believe in the Gospel, Mk 1:15).