Homily for Ash Wednesday - February 22, 2023

Not that I am counting the days, but it is impossible not to be aware that today is the third day of the rectory’s renovation. Because all the rooms needed to be emptied, all things were moved to the garage. It felt like moving again. Some parishioners helped me moving furniture and boxes over the weekend. My clothes and personal things in the bedroom were left for me to pack and move. There are some things that we need to do ourselves. This is an image of life: people may be able to help us with certain things but we ourselves need to do some things that no one else can.

The packing of things was a partial job because some boxes had not been emptied since my move in the summer. Moving them again reminded me of the need to go over some of those boxes and sort things out, a task I could not accomplish when I moved. This is one more image of life: we go through this world with some unfinished businesses, especially in our spiritual life and relationships. These unfinished businesses are often left aside for a “later time”, and we run the risk of never seeing that time coming.

Now, a quick visit to basic theology. God is perfect being. This means, in ways we can understand, God exists in harmony -everything in God is perfection, his being and his home or “surroundings” (using the category of physical space that does not apply to God). Because we human beings are created in the image of God, that perfection in being and home/surroundings is present in us as a longing.

We long to have our surroundings in order and harmony: we like our homes in order as well as our neighborhoods, cities, and so on. We long to have our beings in order, including our lives, our souls. Getting our souls in order and harmony is arguably the unfinished business we all have in common. Many people go through life procrastinating in facing this unfinished business and never do.

Putting our souls in order is something that no one else can do for us. Putting our souls in order is important because if we do not do it in our lifetime, we must do it in purgatory, where the process could be more painful. A soul that is not in order, that is not harmonious, cannot reach the presence of the One who is perfect order and harmony.

Lent offers us the opportunity to work together in the “remodeling” of our beings. We do it together as a community, as the Church, which is also in need of order and harmony. The lack of order in one of the souls of her members delays the perfection that the Body of Christ, the Spouse of the Lamb, the Church, longs for. One concrete way to seriously begin the fixing of our souls in this Lent is to make a good confession.

Let us humbly ask our loving Lord to grant us his grace during this holy season of Lent to be generous in our efforts to make our souls harmonious and beautiful as our ultimate destination compels us.