Your #AshWednesday Sermon Notes – #ashtag

If you went to church for Ash Wednesday – it is not a Holy Day of Obligation – and if there was a sermon, was there a good point made which you can share with the readership?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ajf1984 says:

    A holy friar from Holy Hill had the Mass this morning at my children’s school. In this age of people saying “It’s nothing personal, but…” as a way of criticizing others, Father pointed out that with Jesus, it is personal, and that the ashes we wear today in penitence remind us that we are His, and that all the pride, sin, and other vices that we must die to He already has taken on Himself and has overcome them. So, rather than being a mark of doom and gloom, our ashes should remind us–and others–that we are beloved children of God, drawing near to the One Who gave His all to save us!

  2. Benedictus says:

    Had a very young priest talk about sin, imagine that. He said that we are attached to sin, and that sin can control our lives. He even indicated that men who watch pornography can’t even look at women the way God does, meaning that sin lingers. My rosary tomorrow will be for this Holy Priest.

  3. Kukla65th says:

    I attended a 6.30 a.m. Mass before work today which was relatively well-attended considering the early hour. A priest-in-residence at the parish I attended offered the sermon and I was struck by the comforting tone he was able to instill in making a statement that at the core was about the reality that we will all die one day. It would be easy for someone to leave and say, “Boy, Father was really dark and negative,” but I don’t think anyone felt that way at all; at least, I can’t say that would make sense to me if they did. His comments focused on the reminder that we will all return to dust one day; he focused unabashedly on our mortality. The simplicity and calm in his voice as he confidently made his case were remarkable because I think it reminded people that you can euphemistically describe Ash Wednesday all you want, but today is about remembering that we are not God; we are not immortal.

  4. mike cliffson says:

    SVP Parish, central situation, residential but very near big stores, offices, etc ,9 am mass , ashing post gospel, usually 30 t0 50 congregation , today full but not quite packed but a good half had left hurriedly at odd moments before mass was over.
    Sermon: Fr mostly developed a “lent a season for personal change” theme using the arms the church gives as per todays gospel, alms, prayer , and fasting, quoting a saint/ writer whose name I didn’t catch, something like Aloyicious ?Ganzaga?, to the effect that we are called to be a son of God, a mother for others, most especially the poor and unfortunate, and a judge of ourselves, whereas by (fallen) human nature we are most usually judges of others , many telling examples. more like disobedient demanding brats, or scared placators just in case with God , than obedient confident sons, more examples, and a ( doting child spoiling )mother with our own selves, more examples. How these three, alms and charitable work and attitude, more frequent prayer, and fasting from food and all sorts of things, can go towards this being a judge of oneself , a son of God, and a mother to others. Sorry , that’s just an outline.

  5. lmgilbert says:

    Father quoted someone along these lines: “We are all going to die, but if we die before we die, we won’t die when we die.” He was speaking of course of dying to ourselves. He mentioned that we will be tested in our resolutions, that for example, if we commit not to eat meat during Lent, everyone on the block will barbecue.

    I would say the church was notably more full than for holy days of obligation, which leads me to suspect that if it were a holy day of obligation far fewer would have come. Such is our rebellious nature. Whatever may be the Holy Days of obligation at this point (and at this point late in life, the Church herself has de-catechized me by her on again off again scheduling) , one suspects that the Church could increase attendance by dropping the obligation altogether and increasing associated sacramentals, for example by processions with candles on the evening of the Assumption, etc. , the singing of once popular hymns to our Lady on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception., and so forth.

  6. piscotikus says:

    Drink some BEER this lent.
    Bible Eucharist Empathy Reconciliation.

  7. iPadre says:

    Both EF and OF, I talked about us going into the desert to fight. The battle is internal (our passions) and external (the devil). We need to take advantage of the Sacraments – Confession, the Holy Mass and frequent Communion. But we must also use the sacramentals – sacred images, Holy Water, … . To many Catholic homes appear sanitized of religious objects. All of these help us to “stand firm against the attacks of the devil” the flesh and the world.

  8. MikeToo says:

    Typically when greeted and asked by others how we are, we answer “okay” or “I’m good”. We give this is a rather shallow answer and move on through our day.

    When we accept and wear ashes it is a way to say to ourselves and other, we are not okay. There is something seriously wrong and it needs to change.

  9. MouseTemplar says:

    One of our 80-something priests is a former Navy man. He said that the NO reading from Joel, “Sound the trumpet in Zion” reminded him of the call to “General Quarters” on his former battleship.

    He compared the call to prepare for battle to our readiness in Lent to take up the “weapons” of prayer, penance, and fasting so as to engage in our own fight against sin and the struggle for our families and parishes with the ravages of the post-Christian culture in which we live.

  10. iamlucky13 says:

    Father talked about how we as a society struggle increasingly to deal with the reality of death, yet marveled that Ash Wednesday, a day when we dwell on our own mortality, is one of the best attended Masses in the entire liturgical year, despite not being a day of obligation. Something about the way the Church views these ashes is compelling to us: As Christians we have the hope that death is not the end, and recognize that through the death of Christ, our own salvation is made possible.

  11. JonPatrick says:

    Ash Wednesday brings out two truths, truths that our culture denies and doesn’t like to talk about.
    (1) Sin – to be human is to be a sinner. We are predisposed to seek our will over God’s will. Original Sin severed our relationship with God (Adam and Eve hiding from God after eating the apple), each other (Adam blames Eve for the sin, and indirectly blames God for creating her), and creation (Eve blames the serpent). We do what we know we shouldn’t do.
    (2) Mortality. Death came into the world due to sin. Even the Church doesn’t like to hear “we are dust” and sometimes waters down the words. (This was an EF Mass where the original words were used at the imposition of ashes).
    We can only move on if we recognize these truths. The cure is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the gift of eternal life and who we belong to. We need to realize we need help and can only get it through God.
    The Fathers of the Church liked to use contradictory words to express some of these complex thoughts. One such expression to describe Lent is “joyful sadness” which seems to sum it up.

  12. APX says:

    Anglican Use Ordinariate- “Let battle commence!”

    The priest spoke about he Roman Station and how in Latin the words “statio” means to keep guard and to keep our post as in war or a battle and that’s exactly what Lent is. It’s a battle between us and Satan (who is real and not merely some psychological consort, etc).

    He also mentioned that all three Lenten practices are necessary, otherwise Lent just becomes a battle of the will.

    Father finished off with the aforementioned quote at the beginning.

  13. Sonshine135 says:

    I had to work throughout the day, but got over to the church around 5 PM. Mass was at 6:30PM, but before that time, I was blessed to be able to make a Holy Hour in front of our Lord. Usually we have Mass in the EF at 7:00PM and confessions beforehand, but this was set aside to do an earlier OF Mass. I wanted to be appropriately shriven, but was concerned that regular confessions did not seem to be occurring. I also noticed though that Father had moved close to the confessional. I decided to press my luck and stood outside the confessional. Father broke from his prayer, and walked up to me with a smile on his face and said, “Let me guess, you are here for confession.” Naturally, I responded in the affirmative, and he said, “Well, it is a good day for it.” After being properly shriven, performing penance, and imploring Our Lady’s help to make this a good Lent, I prayed Vespers, was there for benediction, and by the time Mass started, the place was absolutely packed!!!! Father’s homily focused on the importance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and the necessity of their practice. He also mentioned the penitential practices and history of Lent, and how the process for new Catholics to come into the church took 3 years- with the last year focusing on these pillars. He mentioned that other Catholics saw how profitable these acts were, and that is how Lent began in the church- very early on.

    All in all, it was a great start to my Lent. I am undergoing some more difficult disciplines this season and ask your prayers for their success. I will pray for a fruitful Lent for you all as well.

  14. a catechist says:

    Bishop Nickless preached that whatever our Lenten practice is, it is wasted & useless if we don’t deepen our relationship with Jesus. For that reason, we need to recognize those things that keep us from that closeness to Jesus & give those things up – gossip, complaining, pornography, dishonesty, gluttony, etc., GO TO CONFESSION!, and the 3 obligations expected by Christ to pray, fast, and give alms. Cathedral was quite full, mostly folks on their lunch break.

  15. mike cliffson says:

    * FWIW
    Sorry. The Spaniard (Dominican) Fray Luis de Granada , not the Italian (Jesuit)Saint aloysius/luis Gonzaga, as I misheard,( both 16th century) seems to be the originator or popularizer of the pithy concept of the Christian’s role as (obedient) Son of God , a Mother to others, and Judge of himorherself.
    [ Mind you , once one starts judging onself and ones actions and inactions impartially , one has to go to confession again already]

  16. hwriggles4 says:

    Went to the 6:30 pm Mass after work at the Parish a few blocks from my office. Normally, that’s where I go on Holy Days, and have for about four years. The priest there is originally from India, so I make sure to focus when he preaches, due to his accent. His homily was about reviewing our lives, and thinking during the Lenten Season about our own death. This is why penance is important.

    I respect this priest, whose parish has 90 minutes of Confession on Saturday afternoons with long lines. I also can tell that this priest walks his walk, and he is solid and orthodox. It saddens me that some Catholics dismiss him because he has a thick accent.

  17. Bethany says:

    Father reminded us of the importance of penance and giving up something that is good, and he fought back against the argument that we should do something positive instead because “penance is too negative”. Ironically, my brother and I got home and went on facebook to see a quote from Fr. James Martin about “being nice for Lent”… Snickers inevitably ensued.

  18. Bethany says:

    Forgot another great point– Father compared doing penance in order to help to detach ourselves from sin and imperfections to using drugs that are “poison” to cancer cells to kill them.

Comments are closed.