Lenten Season : Lenten Season When the time came for Jesus to preach the Good News, there appeared a man who came before Him. John was clothed with camel’s hair, and ate what he could find in the desert. He preached, saying: Prepare the way of the Lord. : John was clothed with camel’s hair, and ate what he could find in the desert. He preached, saying: Prepare the way of the Lord. Many went to listen to him. They repented for their sins. John baptized them in the river. : Many went to listen to him. They repented for their sins. John baptized them in the river. Jesus came from Nazareth to the Jordan River in order to be baptized also by John. : Jesus came from Nazareth to the Jordan River in order to be baptized also by John. Then, Jesus went to the desert for 40 days, fasting and doing penance. He was tempted by the devil there. : Then, Jesus went to the desert for 40 days, fasting and doing penance. He was tempted by the devil there. Slide 6: The Lenten season is a time of conversion and penance. The season begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. It ends when Holy Week begins. Ash Wednesday : Ash Wednesday Christians receive ash on the forehead or on the head at the beginning of the Lenten Season. The ashes : The ashes On Palm Sunday, palms and olive branches are blessed, similar to the ones used to greet the Lord in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Some of these are kept in order to be burnt in the following year. These are the source of the ashes, blessed and imposed on us at the beginning of the Lenten Season. “I am but dust and ashes” : “I am but dust and ashes” The first book of the Bible tells us that “God formed man of dust from the ground.” This is what the name “Adam” means. God reminded him, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19). This means that we are nothing compared with the Creator. Nonetheless, Abraham said, “I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27). Humble attitude : Humble attitude “Humility” comes from humus: “earth”: “all men are dust and ashes” (Sir 17:32).
Ash also means suffering, weeping, repentance. It is therefore a sign of sorrow and penance. Upon receiving the ash, I show the others that I want to do penance for my sins. Jesus went to the desert to pray. : Jesus went to the desert to pray. The desert is a dry and isolated place, where there is little water and vegetation. Jesus went to pray and fast.
It means: abandonment, and interior and exterior solitude in order to meet God.
Jesus wanted to prepare His public ministry in this way. Moments of silence and solitude : Moments of silence and solitude Every Christian must seek daily moments of silence and solitude to find ourselves with God, and in order to discover that we are far from what God expects from us. The “desert” demands the courage of the humble, of those who have no fear of beginning once more… Forty days : Forty days Moses and Elijah were in the desert for forty days. Forty years was Israel’s journey towards the promised land.
It means: time of the people’s trial, that the Lord allows. It is also “today:” the appropriate time to listen to God’s voice and not to harden the heart.
Our dealings with God need an adequate “space” (the desert as a place of silence), and a concrete and opportune “time,” sufficient enough to listen, through our conscience the voice of God the Father, who corrects and consoles at the same time. Fasting : Fasting Together with the desert and prayer, fasting helps us to do penance, to amend our life and to sincerely seek God. Those who go to the desert to meet the Lord, practice fasting.
Fasting is abstaining from food and drink. It is a symbol and expression of renouncing everything that prevents God’s plan to take place in us. Fasting : Fasting Fasting is also: talking less, not spending on whims or unnecessary things, spending less time in front of the TV, working better, helping others, etc.
It is related to alms-giving, being generous to others. If we fast only to suffer and to show we are strong, we have missed its true aim. Slide 16: The Lenten Season helps us to prepare for 50 days the Resurrection of the Lord. THE END