With the arrival of Ash Wednesday on February 10 this year, Lent begins. Christians are faced again with the imperatives of self-discipline, self-sacrifice, giving alms, and reaching out in charity to their neighbors.
Lent is that period of 40 days in which the Christian world celebrates the foolishness of following Jesus Christ.
Ash Wednesday ranks as one of those few days in the year when Christians don't mind the foolishness of the sign of the cross.
They literally become a marked people. They walk with ash-smudged foreheads into offices, classrooms, airports, and the streets of the city, wearing the sign of the season on their very body, praying that after it is washed off, they will live the intent of it for the next 39 days to prepare for the Easter feast!