Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula has reminded the Catholic faithful that the ashes placed on their forehead on Ash Wednesday “is a sign of the great love of the Lord.”
“The ashes are imposed by making the sign of the cross to remind us that even if we are sinners, there is hope because we have been redeemed by Christ through his life-giving death on the cross,” Advincula explained over Church-run Radio Veritas.
The Catholic Church observed Ash Wednesday yesterday, March 2 this year. It marks the start of the 40-day preparation for the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Advincula said Ash Wednesday is a reminder for humanity that Lent feature two important dimensions of Christ’s passion — ‘penitential and baptismal.’ He encouraged the faithful to fast and intensify their prayer as a sign of true conversion to God.
He said the burning of old palm leaves to be used in rites on Ash Wednesday shows that everything in the world has a limit, and reminds the faithful about their vulnerability to sinfulness, and therefore, invites them to forsake evil and turn to God.
“The ashes come from burned old palms leaves remind us that all earthly glory fades. The ashes tell us that we are sinners; that there is evil and darkness in the world,” he added.
Archbishop Advincula has also joined Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer and fasting as solidarity and call for peace in Ukraine. Earlier, the CBCP called on Catholics to pray for the reconciliation of the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to deter the further escalation of tensions between the two countries.