Today is Ash Wednesday and millions of Catholics are heading to Mass. Such an amazing thing! I am sure the news will run some report about why all these crazy people are walking around with ashes on our foreheads, ensuring the public that we Catholics did shower today. Even Catholics who come to mass only once in awhile, show up to Ash Wednesday because it is our obligation on this Holy Day!
Right now some of you are in full agreement of what I have just said, and some of you are ready to post a reply of an error you have already found in my above paragraph. To many people's surprise Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation! I can't help myself to think of all the people who flood churches today thinking they have to! In fact the parish I work at has gotten a few calls from people wondering what time they could come and get ashes (not when our your masses today). People come to Ash Wednesday just to get marked on their forehead that they are Catholic, for the entire world to know.
My issue therefore with Ash Wednesday is those who go to Mass today for the ashes (usually seen in church at Christmas and Easter as well), so they can walk around and be noticed. They are like the hypocrites in today's gospel, walking the streets playing their horns. If only they would take a moment to have listened to the readings and learned the lesson. I don't want to discourage anyone from going to Mass today (there are plenty of Mass times yet tonight) and receiving ashes, just take the time to listen and reflect on the readings and Make a Change!