Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, after the 9.30 Mass I took Holy Communion to my regular group of housebound parishioners. As I was about to begin the prayers with one elderly lady her home-help came in and, in a loud whisper, said, "Do you want your corn beef hash today?"
It reminded me of a story told by my housekeeper of how she had met a lady, in the supermarket I think, who told her that her family had always kept "Ash Wednesday" and always ate "Ash" for lunch. Some Yorkshire people still drop their "aitches" - for "Ash" read "Hash".
Later that day at the primary school, I asked the children what a hypocrite is (we had the reading from the church Lectionary). They did not know. I then asked them what Jesus meant by their "secret room" and I asked them what their secret place was. One little boy said, "the dining room". I told the teachers to keep an eye on him! Another boy volunteered that he always hid in the closet (from what, we ask!). Eventually I got "mind" and then, "heart". I applauded, but no one joined in.
Ah well, another Lent begins.