Wednesday’s Ashes are a memory now!
Just a few days after being reminded that we are dust and unto dust, we shall return or that we should turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, nobody would know that our foreheads bore the mark of the ash and the sign of the Cross. Still, though, we know it and somewhere in the depths of our Souls, we know that mark makes all the difference.
It reassures us that the road we travel has been travelled before and the steps we take are taken on a well-trodden path. The Trócaire Lenten Campaign this year focuses on land-rights. The four-sided “Trócaire Box” has stories to tell. One about families forced from their homes, another about the absence of rights for women in terms of inheritance and the third about the grabbing greed of big businesses who take over people’s land for their own profit and gain. The leaflet in the Trócaire Pack gives further detail but there is a fourth side to the Trócaire Box and it bears that very name “Trócaire” – mercy. That word tells a story too. It’s a story called “Response”.
To be merciful means to respond in a way that is meaningful, helpful and life-giving. It doesn’t always mean we have all the answers or that the situation is now restored to perfect order. It does mean, however, that we want things to be better for people and that their plight is our concern.
It asks of us that we feel again the mark of the Ashes and the sign of the Cross and that the “Ash Wednesday” man, woman and child puts a mark on the world. A mark of mercy, of caring and of responding to the needs and plight of others. It reminds us of people who cannot easily wash away the ashes or the weight of their cross.
This is not always easy, and our own concerns are real. Think of them though, just for a moment, imagine nobody responding to our needs. Even if the response is inadequate it is better than no response for it means someone has noticed and tried to come to our assistance.
The three sides of the Trócaire Box tell a story. The fourth side? That’s down to us.
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