Lenten Preparations - Scripture Discussion
After days of darkness and long nights, we look forward to springtime when, several minutes at a time, each day lengthens. Our thoughts turn toward planting crops, gardens, or windowsill boxes.
Lent is a lot like planting a garden, and indeed, the word "lent" comes from the Anglo-Saxon root lencten, which means "to lengthen." Because the word applies to the lengthening of days it once came to be synonymous with springtime.
Before we plant our gardens, we first prepare the soil. We sow the seeds and put in plants. In the weeks that follow, we weed the beds, turn the soil, nurture the ground, and prune the plants until, at last, they bear fruit. The harvest is the great conclusion. Still, from beginning to end, we find the whole process life-giving.
The forty days of Lent give us the opportunity to prepare the soil of our lives, continue to nurture the fiber of our being, and remember the greatest covenant, new life with God. The journey of Lent, like tending a garden, is a life-giving experience that is intended to change us by Easter.
Originally, Lent focused on those who prepared for baptism. But it was also a time for those who walked with them to prepare for new life as well. Each one of us continues to walk toward God, and Lent provides us with a pathway for true conversion. During the days of Lent we pray, fast, and share our gifts with others.
There are many reminders throughout Lent that our goal is moving toward the new life Jesus offers us. Beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing to the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, we journey through somber days of growth that lead to new birth.
We begin the season of Lent by having the shape of a cross traced on our foreheads. Originally the ashes represented mourning and contrition. Today, they are more likely to symbolize our own mortality. Next we hear readings for two Sundays that tell of Jesus' temptations and transfiguration. The following three Sundays show us the mystery of death and resurrection. The season of Lent ends with the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, which begins the Triduum, a three-day feast that reaches its high point at the Easter Vigil.
The goal of Lent is that we are truly changed by Easter. Through prayer, fasting, and sharing with others we know and live out the fact that true happiness comes from our relationship with God and loving one another.
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Lent Scriptures - Scripture Discussion - Cycle B
First Sunday of Lent
Second Sunday of Lent
Third Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent
God So Loved Us
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
He Emptied Himself
Updated: September 7, 2009