A good question for a quiz might be, when does Lent 2022 begin and end, and how many days are there in Lent? Everyone will get the number of days correct, it’s 40, and all know that Ash Wednesday is the first day, but not everyone would guess that the Sundays are not counted in the 40 days and that Lent comes to an end on a Thursday!
Holy Thursday is the conclusion of Lent, then we begin the great Triduum taking us through the Last Supper, the agony in the garden, then on Good Friday the trial before Pilate, imprisonment, whipping, crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross to Calvary, the death of Jesus on the cross, the laying in the tomb which we remember during Holy Saturday and finally the joy of the Resurrection and the 50 days of Easter which flow from the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.
All the core teachings of our faith flow from the journey that Christ made at the end of his life and ministry and we follow him during Lent. If this season is about anything at all it is centred on our relationship with Jesus, our willingness to accept his teaching and sacrifice and to become a better disciple.
Sometimes I feel that far too much emphasis has been placed on that other question, “What are you giving up (or doing) for Lent?” I find that the question that underlies it is often not expressed at all. “Why did God so love the world that he sent his only Son?” The best Lenten journey is the one that connects with the biblical text, the church’s tradition and the personal renewal. Certainly, sacrifices and heightened spiritual practices can help, sharing alms with the poor and giving additional time dedicated to prayer are wonderful. But if the 40 days pass and the relationship with Jesus hasn’t developed then maybe we are missing out on an opportunity.
The church will be open during the week at 8.15am until around 5.00pm, so feel free to come and sit in the quiet, read the scripture of the day, contemplate on life and receive the graces and favours which God shares abundantly with those who know and love his Son. A good Lent, well lived, brings a smile of contentment.