February 27, 2023
Filed In: Faith
It’s been just over sixty days since the joy of Christmas morning, and here we are back in a time of preparation. Though much attention is given to the what and when of Lent, acknowledging that this is a time of preparation has piqued my interest this year.
We prepare for things all the time. I prepare for my work week ahead by reviewing and updating my task list. I prepare for a week’s worth of dinners by menu planning and grocery shopping. We all go through a preparation of sorts every Sunday morning, trying to get everyone out the door and to Mass on time.
What does it mean to prepare for Easter? In the Jewish custom, there are strict protocols for preparation. They are lengthly and require much effort and attention to detail. Violating these preparations means that a person cannot fully participate in the feasts. Think back to the reading of the Passion, when the Jewish leaders wouldn’t enter into the praetorium because they wanted to avoid being defiled before the Passover.
Easter is the high point of the Christian year; it’s the proof that Jesus is who he claims to be, and that our faith is not misplaced. How can we best prepare for this the highest of feasts? The Church tells us through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Prayer strengthens our relationship with God, breaks our hearts of stone, and opens our minds to the will of God. Fasting removes obstacles to holiness in our lives. It breaks the power of mindless rhythm and shakes us awake, calling us back to the reality that Christ is coming again, and we must be ready. Almsgiving separates us from ourselves, and makes us attuned to the suffering around us. It reminds us of our obligation to care for the sick, the hungry, and the poor among us, all of them being Christ in disguise.
We have just six weeks to prepare for the greatest mystery in human history. How will we use it to become the people that we were made to be?