Every year on Ash Wednesday we hear the same Gospel reading, when Jesus exhorts us to “take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them". As we scratch our heads in confusion, the priest will usually explain in his homily why our wearing of ashes is not what Jesus was talking about (not that it can't be, in some cases).
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning
If you are Catholic, then you are probably accustomed to the practice of going to Mass and getting ashes put on your forehead on Ash Wednesday. But why ashes? What do they mean?