Carolina Kostner won the bronze medal in women’s figure skating at Sochi for Italy in 2014. It was a personal triumph. Four years prior at the Vancouver Olympics, she fell three times during her performance. One commentator called it disastrous. The video showed her covering her face with her hands in shame. She almost gave up figure skating all together, but her mother insisted that she not give up but continue.
Well, Ash Wednesday reminds us that we all fall. Even Christ fell three times, not because of his own sins, but because of ours. He got up every time out of love for us. We know that we fall many times due to our own short comings and our weaknesses. We want to cover our faces in shame, too. But the Lord is saying to us today, “Get up! Return to me with all your heart.” Christ is like Carolina Kostner’s mother, encouraging her to get up and keep on going. He wants us to continue because he loves us.
So there you have it. We are making a good beginning today. We acknowledge our sins together. And we get up! Like Carolina Kostner. Let’s go forward toward Easter! Loving God, serving our brothers and sisters and growing in holiness. In doing so, we will win the prize. Now here come the ashes.