The celebration of the Glorious resurrection of Christ, on Easter day, is preceded by certain ceremonies, events and celebrations that remind us of Christ’s ministry, rejection, betrayal, sorrowful passion and Death on the cross. All these, make up the season of Lent.
Lent is a season in the calendar of the Catholic Church where in Catholic faithful are called to undertake 40days of intense prayer, fasting and abstinence to commemorate the events of the suffering and Resurrection of Jesus Christ from death. In this period, they walk with him spiritually as they try to recount the agony, sufferings, pains and humiliation he underwent for the salvation of humanity. This period begins with the Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40days (excluding Sunday; the Day of the Lord), with some key and important moments and celebrations.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. The colour of the day and the rest of the season is purple. This day is characterized by the rubbing of ashes on the forehead. The liturgy of the day calls everyone to repent and believe in Christ. It calls everyone to turn away from their old ways of sin and embrace a life of holiness.
The Holy Week
The Holy Week is the peak of the preparation for the event of Christ resurrection, as the events surrounding this week are well defined and they give explanation to and are concerned with the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Trial of Jesus, Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. The period starts with the Palm/Passion Sunday and ends with the Easter Vigil; the Celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.
The Palm/Passion Sunday
It is important for us to notice the two-faced or two-fold title that this great day bears. Most people, especially people of other denominations, celebrate only one of these, Palm Sunday, and leave the other, Passion Sunday, out. We lay great emphasis on celebration and merriment, but we try to kick away sufferings or any form of passion, even if it’s for the Christ’s sake. Do we want to be among those who celebrated and hailed Jesus on his Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem and then Crucified him again, or do we want to celebrate him as well as to follow him in the journey of his passion and Death on the cross so that we will rise again with him?
The Easter or Paschal Triduum
Our preparation, in this period, will be going to a different level. The events that constitutes this period are Holy/Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Holy or Maundy Thursday
This day is marked my three significant events. The first is the blessing of the Oil of Catechumen, the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Chrism by the Bishop in the Chrism mass. The second is the celebration of the Gift of the Sacred Priesthood and the call for unity amongst the Ordained. The third is the Institution of the Holy Eucharist by Jesus Christ, which is handed over by the priests (“do this in memory of me“, C.f Luke 22:19).
On this day we walk with Christ Spiritually and physically (by way of remembrance/acting) as he takes up his Cross, as he endures the beatings and mockery all the way to Golgotha, as he is stripped off his clothes and nailed to the cross, as he is lifted up on high and as he breathes his last. Why is it called Good Friday? Why not bad Friday?
Christ death would have been a bad one if the devil had conquered him, but guess what? He conquered the devil and he conquered death. The cross is now a sign of victory for those who believe in him. Hence, it is a Good Friday and not a Bad one.
We adore you O Christ and we praise you!
Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.
This is the Night. This is the Night when Christ defeated the evil one; the night when Christ defeated death and arose gloriously from the Tomb. This is our redemption Night. This is the night of our salvation.
In the celebration of the eve of Easter, we are reminded of God’s salvific plan from the time Adam and Eve chose to deviate from his plan. The lengthy readings from the Old Testament and New Testament all point to the different attempts God made in Bringing humans back to him. He sent prophets to speak to the people and finally He sent His only Son to die for their sins.
O Lord give us the courage and the necessary graces to walk with you spiritually and physically (through our challenges) in your passion, suffering, crucifixion and Death, so that we may rise with you on the last day and enjoy the everlasting bliss of Heaven. Amen.
About the Author
Kalu Samuel Chukwudi