Your #AshWednesday Sermon Notes #ashtag – AUDIO Fr Z

Today is NOT a holy day of obligation.

That said, many people try to go to Mass on Ash Wednesday.  Many, however, cannot.

Let us know about the good points in the sermon, if there was one.

I wrote “good”.  Let’s make this positive and edifying for the benefit of those who had to work or who were shut in or otherwise not able to go to Mass.

Here is audio of my sermon for Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. May’s in Pine Bluff at 6 PM.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. During Lent I’m doing a sermon series, working our way through the Mass. For Ash Wednesday, I began with the Sign of the Cross, which reminds us of the centrality of the Cross for our Faith, for Lent, and that the Mass is the Cross.

  2. Elizabeth D says:

    The homily I heard at a packed 7am Mass for university students was worthy of an award for saying what ought to be said. It began with a corny recycled story illustrating how poorly the priest observed his Lenten sacrifice when he was a college student, going on to speak about about fasting exhorting us from St Josemaria that if we give the body all of what it legitimately wants it will inevitably demand what is not legitimate, and explaining the specific fasting requirement today and that we can go beyond the minimum. The priest listed the 5 most commonly confessed mortal sins of college students (those being missing Sunday Mass, sensual acts with boyfriend/girlfriend, sexual abuse of oneself, getting seriously drunk, and looking at evil things on the internet), and if you do these things you will not receive grace from Holy Communion in fact you would receive a lot of grace if you dong’t go to Communion out of habit or social convention but respectfully don’t receive Communion when you should not. Go to Confession, preferably now at the beginning of Lent and again toward the end of Lent. A priest will be in the confessional all day long. There will be an added 7:10 am daily weekday Mass during Lent that will be 2o mins long. This parish has 6 Ash Wednesday Masses scheduled! Yes did I mention the church was packed with college students at 7am. I was in the front and I noticed some kids asked for a blessing instead of receiving Communion (in addition to the celebrant, the 2 other priests of the parish distributed Communion in cassock and surplice; no EMHCs. They did have 3 respected young laymen giving ashes in addition to the 3 priests). At one of the Masses at this place the bishop will be here today.

    Basically what I saw going on was an absolute model of what to do. They just built a magnificent new church and there’s spectacular pastoral care to go inside it.

  3. Adaquano says:

    Our pastor had a good homily directed at both students in the school and at all attending pointing towards the importance of covenant, and explaining both secular covenant but also religious covenants. He then explained how Lent should be a time we work to renew our first covenant we make with God in our Baptism. He lastly implored us to continually focus on the cross during Lent, as a reminder of the eternal covenant that God has made with his people and for us to have crosses in our homes, in our cars, for students to have it where they study or pray to have that constant reminder of God’s love.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Not our Ash Wednesday sermon, about which hmmmm, but my lunchtime Bible reading did the heavy work today quite admirably — the secularist town hall here, having this year decided to go all out in turning Lent into Carnival time, today subjected us to live “love songs” at lunch (my health issues do not permit me to fast unless by exception) but I succeeded in focusing on my Scripture instead which was preaching in Ezekiel the very refusal of the worldliness and the carnality around us that Christ’s pilgrimage into the desert wilderness is there to teach us.

    It felt Lenten anyway, to focus so on the Word away from the World.

    Ezekiel : {18:21} But if the impious man does penance for all his sins which he has committed, and if he keeps all my precepts, and accomplishes judgment and justice, then he shall certainly live, and he shall not die.
    {18:22} I will not remember all his iniquities, which he has worked; by his justice, which he has worked, he shall live.

  5. APX says:

    I wrote “good”. Let’s make this positive and edifying for the benefit of those who had to work or who were shut in or otherwise not able to go to Mass.

    Or those of us who go to Mass where the priest doesn’t give sermons except on Sundays.

    For those who can’t get to Mass or are suffering the lack of quality sermons, I strongly recommend The priests are FSSP priests and are pretty good about posting their sermons in a timely manner (often the same day preached).

  6. Fallibilissimo says:

    Among many other points he hit on, our priest reminded us how ashes are used as fertilizers for crops and in the same sense we should see this period as being spiritually fertile through our penance. The seed that dies produces fruit sort of idea…

  7. Julia_Augusta says:

    Very funny experience in New Zealand (where just finished a 5 day hike): At Mass, the priest pronounced “fasting” like “feasting” (New Zealand accent). At first I was confused, then I just smiled.

  8. DMorgan says:

    Fr. Jeff Kirby at Our Lady of Grace gave us a wonderful homily reminding us we are all sinners, we all fall short, and we all need forgiveness. And not to fool ourselves into thinking we are okay.

  9. APX says:


    New Zealand and a five day hike? I’m pretty sure I know which priest you’re talking about.

  10. Kansan says:

    Highlights from the sermon we heard tonight:
    Years ago we forgot that our faith is an initiation into Christian combat.
    We have 2 tracks to focus on –
    1. Our own repentance (a benchmark for the rest of our life) being consistent, disciplined and gradually growing in self-awareness, truth and goodness.
    2. Called to walk with the Lord. People pursued Jesus and knew they needed Him when He lived among them.
    Our mission is to be at the foot of the cross on Good Friday and at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
    Let us work to be saints by power from the Risen Lord.

  11. majuscule says:

    It’s always an evening Mass but we are thankful that we have a Mass on Ash Wednesday.

    Father preached about prayer, alms giving and fasting. He really stressed that we should be praying at least 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. He pointed out how much more time we probably spend doing other things (like watching TV or going to the gym). Then he suggested we try praying night and morning (if we aren’t already) for 21 days. It will be a habit by that time and we will feel something is missing if we don’t pray.

  12. Spinmamma says:

    Our Parish had 5 services for Ash Wed, one of which was not a full Mass. I attended the fourth,which was a full Mass, and it was packed. The Priest emphasized that the ashes on our foreheads remind us of our mortality (go to confession) and are a symbol of repentance and humility before our God. He stressed the themes of repentance and integrity. Repentance, in addition to feeling sorry for our sins, requires a desire and action to make reparation. Integrity (using the example of those who display their alms giving and prayer publicly as a show to the world as those without integrity) he used in the sense that our goal is to conform our outward selves to our true inner selves. God wishes to encounter us as we are, not as we try to appear to others. Prayer, confession, penance and changing our lives to conform to Christ is the purpose of Lent.

  13. Imrahil says:

    The homily I heard at a packed […] Mass […] was worthy of an award for saying what ought to be said.

    I can quite second that for the one I myself heard. Let’s see whether I can get the main points across.

    Our preacher began like, pardon the strange question, but just for interest’s sake, should we give thanks for fasting? One might think no; it may appear to some rather enough of a burden that they do fast, rather than being thankful for it on top of it. It may come as a surprise, but “if you look into your missals” (note that after first assuming that we do fast, he second assumed we do have missals – I like that), you can look up the special preface, the grand praise before the canon, which we will from now on be hearing until Passion Sunday: “truly it is worthy and just, proper and wholesome to always and everywhere give thanks to Thee, eternal Father, holy Lord, almighty God, for through the fasting of the body thou holdest down sin”, etc.

    Other question: How is it God who holds down sin? Isn’t it us that sin? Isn’t it us, also, who have to not sin? – At this point he told the story of how another priest he knew was impressed by an old lady who still knew her catechism, “well, if we fast, then God gives helping grace and with the helping grace we can avoid to sin”. Fasting is waiving the allowed to be trained to refuse the unallowed. In sinning, we have had ideas above our station; in fasting, “if I may say so”, we have ideas below our station; thereby giving room to God who will conquer sin in us, not entirely maybe, but by a great deal. For which sake, yes:

    we should thank God, for now, that we may fast,
    so that we may thank God, then, for all eternity.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    Father preached about the need to avoid the occasion of sin. There was one memorable line concerning unplugging the TV or getting rid of cable if TV or Internet was an occasion of sin for us “It is better to go through life disconnected or unplugged that to spend an eternity in Satan’s Internet Cafe”.
    He also talked about how we are often like the Pharisees in that we are concerned about what other people think and about their sins rather than being focused on ourselves and what we are doing or not doing.

  15. DavidR says:

    Fr. began by pointing out that we frequently seek public approval; see the Gospel reading. He ended the homily by saying that we really only live with one person, ourself, and that we really only need the approval of one Person, GOD.

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