From death to life: Ash Wednesday to Easter

The start of Lent confronts us with death. We move through themes of pilgrimage to the final words of light and life at the Easter Vigil. The Church’s liturgy offers plenty of riches for preaching in this season, writes Gerald O’Collins SJ.

Years ago, I met a man who knew only one thing about Christians. It concerned something that two of his friends at work did once a year. ‘They both go off at lunch hour,’ he told me, ‘and when they come back, they have a little ash smeared on their foreheads.’ What his colleagues did each year was to slip into a church on Ash Wednesday and receive the ashes.

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