AP NEWS

Parishioners receive ashes, marking the first day of Lent

March 9, 2019

Hypocrisy and value were the topic of the homily during Ash Wednesday services, when local parishioners met at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church for the start of the Lenten season.

Father Raymond Flores gave the homily, speaking about hypocrisy, and said despite flaws, people are still valuable to God. He used a demonstration, pulling out a $20 bill crumbling it and stepping on it. When he asked who in the congregation still wanted the bill, much of the crowd raised their hands.

“We never lose our value,” he said, comparing people to the bill.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, which lasts until Easter Sunday.

“The symbol of ashes goes all the way back to Old Testament times and it reminds us of repentance, so it’s a return to God,” Flores said. “And so today is the beginning of the season of Lent, so this is a time when Christians all over the world are going on retreat, are returning to God in preparation for the celebration of Easter.”

Flores said Lent is his favorite season because it’s a time where people can refocus and come back to the Lord.

“Ash Wednesday is just the very beginning,” he said. “We go through a journey with Jesus over the next six weeks, up until the climax of Holy Week, where we really buckle down and come to really walk with Jesus in his suffering and also celebrate in his rising again from the dead.”