Mass reminded The University community of repentance and restoration in The Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny Ballroom on Ash Wednesday. Rev. Richard G. Malloy, S.J., gave the homily at the 12:05 p.m. service, which was the first of three. The Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. presided, offering both the opening and closing prayers.
Christians celebrate Ash Wednesday to begin the 40 days of Lent and prepare for the resurrection of Christ on Easter.
During the Catholic Mass, everyone receives ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross while the minister says either “Remember man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “repent, and believe in the Good News.” This ritual symbolizes human mortality and the need for penance and reform in preparation for the afterlife.
Quinn emphasized the need for Christians to turn to God during Lent in his opening prayer.
“In the first reading, the Lord God says ‘Come back to me with your whole heart,’” Quinn said. “That is what we’re about this Lenten season.”
In the homily, Malloy encouraged each member of the congregation to discern his or her calling and path to God during the Lenten season. He focused on engaging in “dangerous dialogue” to discover the best way to serve.
“Lent is not just a time to give something up,” Malloy said, “it is a time to discern how to give ourselves in love.”
Malloy offered examples of people who applied their specific blessings and abilities to give back to the world, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yunus.
Yunus, a banker and economist, has assisted millions out of poverty through his microcredit, microfinance and microloans. He founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which provides small loans to people, especially women in poverty, who cannot receive other help. This help often allows people to move forward economically.
Malloy insisted that everyone has the potential to make an impact like Yunus.
He asked the congregation “What will you decide to do with your life? How will you give of your time, talents, your treasure?”
Campus minister Amy Hoegan interrupted the sermon to provide students with practical manners of serving over Lent, centered on kindness.
“The reading invites us to rend our hearts. That literally means tear open our hearts for others,” Hoegan said. “When we act in kindness, we acknowledge the inherent human dignity of another person.”
Hoegan offered a list of ways to be kind during Lent: don’t be a jerk, give up gossip, perform intentional acts of kindness and serve through the Center for Service and Social Justice.
Malloy concluded the homily by asking everyone to reflect on service to Christ.
“What have we done for Christ?” he said. “What are we doing for Christ? What will we do for Christ?”
Following the homily, everyone in attendance received the ashes in a cross on their foreheads and Mass proceeded as usual.
Campus Ministries offers events throughout Lent, including Stations of the Cross, reconciliation and “Dangerous Dialogues,” which will explore controversial topics through a Catholic lens.
Feb. 20, 2015