The 2020 Ash Wednesday in Nigeria and the rest of the world is a Holy day for christians, and is characterised by fasting and prayers. The name “Ash Wednesday” was gotten from making the sign of cross with the marking of ashes on the forehead of christians. This mark is made while the Priest says the words “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the gospel”.
Ashes in the Ash Wednesday are generally gotten by burning of the palm leaves that was used in the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The Ash Wednesday is characterised with the colour purple and also marks the beginning of the fourth days fasting and prayers in preparation of eastertide.
The Teaching of 2020 Ash Wednesday
For Christians all over the world especially the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Methodist, Nazarenes among others, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of their sojourn with our saviour Jesus. It is a period of Lent which is characterised by almsgiving , prayers and fasting. The Lent period begins with the celebration and carrying of ashes in forehead, to remind Christians that life is nothing but dust and ashes.
Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of Lent period for Christians is a time that reminds all humans that they are made from ashes and will eventually return to ashes at the end of our life here on earth.
However, Ash Wednesday for Christians in Nigeria and the rest of the world is a time used to grieve for their sins. It’s also a period of penance when people reconcile with God for their shortcomings and work towards growing in faith and in morality. The period of Lent is also a time of fasting of all sorts, especially from meats and from sins too. Hence, it’s a time we embrace humility in rendering good services to humanity, especially our neighbours. Lent also is a time when we fast and flee from evil doings and work towards making ourselves better Christians.
Hence, Ash Wednesday also appeals to Nigerians and the rest of the world on the need to be their brother’s keeper. The period frowns to undue killings, violence, corruption, and all manner of social vices within and around us. While encouraging and embracing the spirit of oneness, peace, unity in other to coexist peacefully among ourselves.
Finally, we pray especially in this Ash Wednesday and throughout the lent period that the good Lord will grant us all (Nigerians and the rest of the world) the graces to always understand that human beings are nothing, we all came from dust and will eventually return to dust.
Courtesy: Rev. Fr. Augustine Ojiribe