ROME, Italy – Pope Francis denounced the deceptiveness of “the culture of appearance” in a ceremony marking Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter when Catholics traditionally fast.
“Earthly realities fade away like dust in the wind,” said the pope at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome on Wednesday.
“Possessions are temporary, power passes, success wanes.”
“The culture of appearance prevalent today, which persuades us to live for passing things, is a great deception,” he said.
“It is like a blaze: once ended, only ash remains.”
The pope finished his homily with the traditional rite in which ashes are traced on the head of the believer in the shape of a cross.
Most Christians do not follow the practice of fasting during Lent as much as they did in the past.
Pope Francis, in his homily, called on Catholics to practice prayer, charity and fasting. /gsg
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