February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday

Last year, on the rainy evening of March 27, our Holy Father stood in an empty Saint Peter Square and spoke these words, “We have all raced ahead with breakneck speed ignoring the wars, injustice, and cry of the poor and our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we could stay healthy in a world that was sick.”

The sickness of the world, our world, is on full display. We focus on the over the five hundred thousand American citizens, men, and women, who have died of Covid 19. We hope that once we achieve “herd immunity” through vaccination, we will get back to “normal.” Pope Francis recently published a book, Let Us Dream: A Path to A Better Future, in which he invites us to dream with him of a world in which many of the sicknesses destroy us and make us and our world less than what we have been created and redeemed to be. The infection of poverty, hunger, injustice, division, violence, insensitivity also destroy life. The Pope challenges us to see a new and better world.

Our first reading from the prophet Joel calls us to look at ourselves and change. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God. For gracious and merciful is the Lord, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment. Our Responsorial Psalm begs us to cry out, Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Our Holy Father’s book invites us and encourages us to “rend our hearts” and own our personal and corporate sinfulness. I would invite all our readers to take up this book as a lenten reflection and walk along with Francis as he dreams of a better world.

Let Us Pray:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Patrick Riley

Patrick is an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament at St Paschal Baylon Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the former Book Review Editor for Emmanuel Magazine.