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The length of Lent

13 Mar 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Events

Many other Christian denominations are beginning to do some of those things they condemned in Catholicism in recent times. I have seen some of them trying to do something similar to the Catholic Eucharistic celebration, which has been the center of our worship as Catholics;. At the same time, they kick against the rosary, and many have a kind of wristband they wear and some other things that are Catholic-like. I do really pray; may we be one.

I actually want to focus on the length of Lent and not the unnecessary rivalry between Christian denominations. This article was written by Neela Kale and published by Bustedhalo on March 10, 2017; I only added just a little. I would want us to be specific because even though the Lenten season is generally associated with the Catholic Church, some others now talk about it. So, in the Catholic Church, the season of Lent lasts for forty days.

In Jewish and Christian tradition, the number 40 has symbolic meaning. A period of 40 days or years, more than being a literal measurement, represents a long time and a period of preparation or testing. When 40 days or 40 years have passed, the appropriate period or the “right amount of time” has been completed in preparation for the working of God’s grace.

Recall the 40 days and 40 nights of rain during the flood in Genesis 7, the 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the desert after their exodus from Egypt, and the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Lent lasts 40 days so that we will spend the “right amount of time” in this period of penance and preparation before Easter. The number 40 is symbolic, not a specific count of the days in Lent.

Lent, therefore, is not just about forty days but about preparation, preparation not just for Easter but for eternal life in Christ Jesus. Therefore, in our Lenten preparation, let us look beyond the Easter celebration by God’s mercy to celebrate our citizenship of heaven.