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The readings for the Ash Wednesday Liturgy are calling us to be Men and Women of Action – people who have the humility to see who they really are and to take steps to be better people.

Pope Francis reminds us that we need the earth and that the generations of people who have gone before us have not always done a great job at caring for her. We need to think about the impact that we have on creation – are we doing all the we can to keep this place healthy and well-cared for?

The second reading, from the Gospel, shows Jesus challenging the people of his time not to be fake, not to be worried by how other people see them. Jesus challenges the people of his time to be real and honest in how they live their lives. He calls them, and he also calls us today, to be authentic people, people who are true in how they relate to others.

This Lent we are being called to hear the cry of the earth that needs our care and the call to be authentic. We are being challenged to go beyond the basic things that people in our society do, like recycling, that is a start but it is not enough. We need to really think about how we are impacting on the earth and what we can do to be better people.

Lent is the season that points towards Easter. Easter is the time of new life. We cannot experience the new life of Easter unless we start to make some real changes in how we live as people today. Lent is a season of change. In a few moments we will put ashes on our foreheads as a sign that we are willing to make some changes in our lives for the better.

There are three main practices during Lent – prayer, fasting (giving something up) and giving to the poor. Each of these practices is trying to challenge us to try thinking about life differently.

Things you might like to consider doing this Lent –

  • Helping out with the Paddy's’ Van
  • Planting and then caring for a tree as it grows
  • Giving up gaming or social media to spend more time with family and friends or helping out at home
  • Raising money through Shore to Gate for your House Charity
  • Smiling at someone you walk past.

The season of Lent is asking us “what can we be doing better?”

“This sister, the earth, now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has created her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor…We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si n.1

Mr Tim Kenny – Dean of Identity