Depending on where you attend Mass, you may see the statues and images covered in the sanctuary beginning on the 5th Sunday of Lent. If you are not used to seeing this done, it may strike you as odd or even a bit unsettling. It is unsettling to see our beautiful statues and sacred images draped with shrouds like ghosts. The point is to unsettle us, as part of our Lenten preparation for Easter.
4th Sunday of Lent (C)
The fourth Sunday in Lent is called Laetare Sunday, after the first word of the Entrance Chant for the Mass. Laetare is Latin for “rejoice.” The Entrance Chant is from Isaiah 66:10-11: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.“
2nd Sunday of Lent (C)
This Sunday our gospel is about the Transfiguration, when Jesus appeared in all his divine glory to Peter, James and John. As we continue with what might feel like the uphill climb of our Lenten penance, I want to focus on the very first line of this Sunday’s reading: “Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray” (Lk 9:28).
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and it’s never too soon — or too late — to begin thinking about our Lenten penance and devotions. Lent is a penitential season, and the Church includes prayer, works of charity, and self-denial under the umbrella of “penance” (see Canon 1249 in the Code of Canon Law). Full observance of Lent therefore includes prayer, fasting, and charity.
1st Sunday of Lent (B)
The prayer and fasting we undertake during Lent is meant to emulate Jesus’ forty days fasting in the desert before the start of His public ministry. So it makes sense that on the first Sunday of Lent our gospel reading would tell of Jesus’ time in the desert where He was tempted by Satan. But we may be surprised to hear in our first reading about Noah and the flood, and God setting a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His covenant. When we think of Lent, we don’t often think of rainbows. But maybe we should. The rainbow is God’s sign of new life after death. This is very much what Lent is about.