The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday and falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter. Ash Wednesday is traditionally observed by Catholic faithful all over the world.
Ethnicity and religious differences has made an attempt to tear Nigeria apart as a nation with things fallen apart and no grip at the center, this period of Lent is a time to surrender all our worries and differences to Almighty God just like the people of Nineveh did ((Jonah 3:8-10).
The Covid-19 reveals more clearly than ever before human fragility. It opens our eyes and forces us to humbly acknowledge our situation. That is the annual call of Ash Wednesday, but this year we hear it even better!
While the liturgy rightly offers us the option of using the phrase "Convert and believe in the Gospel" when the ashes are laid on our foreheads, the traditional formula is probably best suited to the beginning of Lent 2021: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" (echoing the text of Genesis 3:19). A call to humility better understood in times of pandemic.
However, this is not a time for self-pity or discouragement. The call to conversion in Lent is also a call to the responsibility we all have to ensure the quality of the world in which we live. Fragility encourages us to solidarity, mutual support, and even self-giving, as evidenced by so many health workers around the world.