Lent

QUESTION: What is the significance of Lent?

ANSWER: Early in the Church’s history, the major events in Christ’s life were observed with special observances, such as His birth, baptism, death, resurrection and ascension.

As these observances developed, a period of time was set aside prior to the major events of Jesus’ birth and resurrection as a time of preparation.

During Lent, the Church’s worship assumes a more penitential character. The color for the season is purple, a color often associated with penitence. The “Hymn of Praise” is omitted from the liturgy. The word “Alleluia” is usually omitted as well.

By not using the alleluia — a joyful expression meaning “Praise the Lord” — until Easter, the Lenten season is clearly set apart as a distinct time from the rest of the year.

Additionally, it forms a powerful contrast with the festive celebration of Jesus’ resurrection when our alleluias ring loud and clear.

Finally, the penitential character of Lent is not its sole purpose. In the ancient Church, the weeks leading up to Easter were a time of intensive preparation of the candidates who were to be baptized at the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday.

This time in the Church’s calendar was seen as an especially appropriate time for Baptism because of the relationship between Christ’s death and resurrection and our own in Holy Baptism (see Rom. 6:1-11).

This focus would suggest that the season of Lent serves not only as a time to meditate on the suffering that Christ endured on our behalf but also as an opportunity to reflect upon our own Baptism and what it means to live as a child of God.

3rd Sunday after Pentecost

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 

Jesus Has Defeated the Devil and Released Us from the Bondage of Sin and Death

The devil deceived us, enticing us to disregard and disobey the Word of God and driving us to hide “from the presence of the Lord God.” But the Lord, in His mercy, promised a Savior, who would set Himself against the devil on our behalf (Gen. 3:8–15). The Son of Man came, the incarnate Son of God, conceived and born of the woman. He “first binds the strong man,” Satan, by atoning for the sins of the world, thereby removing the condemnation of the Law and the fear of death (Mark 3:27). Now He plunders the devil’s house by calling all men to repent. Though He appears to be “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21), He fulfills the will of God and makes of us His own brothers and sisters. Therefore, “we do not lose heart,” despite the suffering, sin and death that we experience in this fallen world. “He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.” By His grace, we are “being renewed day by day.” For the Gospel is daily bringing us into His presence, not for punishment, but for “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:14–17).

Genesis 3:8–15

2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1

Mark 3:20–35