THE PASCHAL SEASON 40/3/50
ALL THE DAYS, from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost, are our Paschal (Passover) Season. The 40 days of Lent and the 50 days of Eastertime surround the Triduum, along with the Great Three Days from Holy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday evening. This entire season has a unity centered in the Easter Vigil. It is expressed through our Lenten theme – Now Is the Time, and continued celebration of baptismal death and resurrection in Christ during Eastertime. Together we experience A Very Acceptable Time for change during Lent so that we might come to celebrate The Day of Salvation during Easter and, in turn, go forth at Pentecost in the power of the Spirit to transform the world.
Lent has a twofold theme of Baptism (both recalling and preparing for) and repentance. Another word for repentance is conversion. Both of these words are from the Greek word, metanoia, best defined as “change of heart/change of mind/change of perspective.” This Lent we are challenged to recognize that Now Is The Time to go “beyond our mind,” to a new way of seeing ourselves as beloved Children of God. Now Is The Time to see that each of us is a new creation literally loved into being by God, in Christ, and celebrated in Baptism.
While Lent is serious, it is never sad. It is a “spiritual spring,” a joyful season of conversion and a turning toward the Gospel. Due to the Lenten focus on Baptism, those preparing to celebrate the initiation sacraments are our companions on the journey toward Easter. Whether they are RCIA participants preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and/or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, or second-graders and high school students preparing to celebrate First Eucharist and Confirmation during the Easter season, all of us are reflecting, reconciling, and changing in response to “Now Is The Time.”
There is also a strong social justice element to Lent. The prophet Isaiah reminds us: “This is the fasting that (God wishes); releasing those bound unjustly…setting free the oppressed…sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering…the homeless.” This season we will focus on the Catholic Social Teaching of Solidarity; Now Is The Time to see ourselves as one human family.
As we embark on our Lenten 2021 journey, let us remember…
“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; now is the day of salvation”
– 2 Corinthians 6:2