Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Wednesday of Holy Week. (This period is actually 43 days.)
The '40' day period reminds us of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert before God permitted them to enter 'the Promised Land' of Canaan. (Gen.12:7) This period was for them a period of preparation, penance and purification after God freed them from their slavery in Egypt where they had lived for exactly 430 years.
The '40 days' also reminds us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert praying and fasting and rejecting the Devil's temptations before beginning His public ministry.
And so, during Lent, the Church calls all her children 'to follow Jesus into the desert praying and fasting' in preparation for the celebration of the great feast of our salvation; the commemoration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the Holy Paschal Sacrificial Mystery (Paschal means 'Passover' in Hebrew) wherein the Precious Blood of the Paschal Lamb (Christ) is shed to set free the faithful Children of God from the powers of evil and death. This is the Holy Sacrifice (the 'Perpetual Sacrifice' of the Mass) which now enables the Angel of Death to 'Passover' the faithful, that God may now give them entry into His 'Promised Land', the 'New Jerusalem' of Heaven, to dwell as His children with Him, in Heaven forever.
- GOOD DEEDS
- RECEIVE THE HOLY SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
Prior to Palm Sunday, Jesus was called to Bethany by Mary and Martha whose brother Lazarus was ill and close to death. By the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had been in the tomb 4 days. Jesus went to the tomb, prayed to the Father and commanded Lazarus to "Come out!" Amazed when Lazarus appeared, many Jews believed in Jesus. (Jn.11:1-44)
With the news that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, Caiaphas, the high priest, and the Pharisees were afraid, "If we let him go on, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will destroy the Holy Place and our Nation!" Caiaphas said, "It is better for one man to die, than for the whole nation to be destroyed." From that day they were determined to kill Jesus, and worked to have him arrested. (Matt.26:1-5; John 11:44-53)
The Jewish Passover Festival was drawing near and six days before the Passover, Jesus was again in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary came in with a jar of expensive ointment, pure nard, and anointed the head and feet of Jesus. Judas Iscariot complained the oil could have been sold to benefit the poor. Jesus said to him, "Leave her alone! She did it to prepare me for my burial." (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11) Judas then approached the Chief Priests and offered to hand Jesus over to them. (Matt.26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11)
On the way to Jerusalem, near Bethany and the Mount of Olives, Jesus sends two of his
disciples on ahead to bring the foal of a donkey to him. Then, mounted on the donkey,
Jesus makes triumphant entry into the city, the people spreading cloaks on the road and
waving palms, midst loud cries of:
"Hosanna to the son of David!
Blessings on him who comes
in the Name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest Heavens!" (Luke 19:28-36)
Jesus proceeded to the temple where he drove out the merchants and money-changers,
declaring, "My house will be called a house of prayer,
but you have turned it into a robbers' den." (Matt.21:12; Jer.7:11; Isa.56:7)
Blind and lame people came to him in the temple and he healed them. Children were crying out, "Hosanna to the son of David!" and Jesus pointed out to the chief priests and scribes the fulfilment of the prophecy: "Out of the mouths of infants and of sucklings, You have perfected praise." (Psalm 8:2,3)
Jesus then returned to Bethany for the night.
Jesus sends two disciples to the city to find a man in whose house they will celebrate the 'Passover' supper, and they are to prepare for the meal. (Matt.26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16)
Evening comes and Jesus arrives with the twelve. While they were at supper Jesus got up, prepared himself and began to wash his disciples feet. Peter refused, but when Jesus said, "If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me!" Peter then said, "Then Lord, not only my feet, my hands and my head as well!" Jesus said to them, "If I, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other's feet." (John 13:1-20) Jesus showed them, to be true disciples they must spend themselves giving humble loving service to others.
Jesus foretells Judas will betray Him. (Matt.26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21)
After blessing the bread, He broke it, and said, "Take and eat, this is My Body." Then He took the cup, gave thanks and said, "This is My Blood, the Blood of the Covenant, which is to be poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins." (Matt.26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25)
Jesus foretells all will desert Him this very night, and Peter will deny Him 3 times in fulfilment of the Scripture, "I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered." (Matt.26:30-35; Mark 14:26-30; Zechariah 13)
After the supper, Jesus takes the 11 to pray in the garden. He leaves 8 in one place and takes Peter, James and John with Him asking them to stay and watch with him. Then He went on a little further and prayed alone to His Father, three times beseeching Him,"Abba! Everything is possible to You. Take this cup from me, but if it cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done!" His agony and anguish was such that His sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood. After each prayer He returned to the three disciples to find them sleeping and lamented that they could not even watch one hour with him. After the third time He called them, "Come, my betrayer is close at hand!" (Matt.26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)
Judas arrived with men sent by the chief priests and elders. They were armed with swords and clubs and Judas greeted Jesus with a kiss. Men seized Jesus and Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, servant of the high priest. Jesus promptly healed Malchus and said, "Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?" (Mt.26:47-56; Mk.43-52; Lk.22:47-53; Jn.18:1-11)
Before dawn broke, as Christ had prophesied, Peter had denied Him 3 times. (Lk.22:55-61) They took Jesus, first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas who sent Him on to Caiaphas. (Jn.18:13) When morning came Jesus was led from Caiaphas's house to the Praetorium and Pontius Pilate.
- Caiaphas - High Priest - at first dawn - he avows His Messiahship and Godhead and
is condemned for blasphemy, and mocked...(Matt.26:57-68)
- Pilate - Governor of Judaea - brought before Pilate for sentence and crucifixion, but when Pilate learns Christ is from Galilee he sends him to King Herod for judgement. (Lk.23:3-7)
- Herod - King - Tetrarch of Galilee - he governed - of the country - sends Jesus back to Pilate. (Lk.23:8-11)
- Pilate - Pilate sought to release him, "I find no case against Him! I should release a prisoner at the 'Passover'." But the Jews demanded he release Barabbas
To appease the crowd, Pilate had Jesus scourged, but they still clamoured for His crucifixion for making Himself the Son of God. (Jn.19:1-7)
- Barabbas is released. (Lk.23:25)
- Jesus is scourged. (Jn.19:1)
- Jesus's Kingship is mocked by the soldiers who crown Him with thorns and dress Him in a purple robe saying; "Hail! King of the Jews!" (Matt.27:27-31)
- The people clamour: "Crucify Him!" (Jn.19:6; Matt.22,23)
- Pilate washes his hands, "I am innocent of this man's blood!" He then handed Jesus over to be crucified. (Matt.27:24-26)
- Judas full of remorse, hangs himself. (Matt.27:4,5)
- Jesus is made to carry His cross to the city gate.
- Simon of Cyrene is made to help Jesus carry His cross.(Matt.27:32; Mk.15:21; Lk.23:26)
- Women mourn and lament for Jesus as He struggles and falls, but Jesus says to them, "Do not weep for Me, but for yourselves and for your children." (Lk.23:27,28)
- Out of the city, they proceed to Golgotha (Hebrew word), the place called Calvary, (the 'Place of the Skull'), where Jesus is crucified, together with 2 thieves. (Lk.23:33,39-43)
- The soldiers cast lots for His clothes. (Psalm 22:18; Jn.19:23,24)
1. He prays for His murderers, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
2. To the penitent thief He promises, "This day you will be with Me in Paradise."
3. To His Mother and St. John He said, "Woman, behold thy son." And to St. John He said, "Son, behold thy mother."
4. Jesus cried out to his Father, "Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani?" Which means, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" (Mk.15:34)
5. "I thirst!" And He was given vinegar to drink. (Mk.15:36)
6. "It is accomplished!" (Jn.19:30)
7. "Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit." (Psalm31:5; Lk.23:46)
- The moment Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was rent in two, from the top to the
- The earth quaked, and rocks were rent. Graves opened, and many bodies of saints arose. (Matt.27:51-53)
- Jesus' side is pierced by a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water. (John 19:34)
- Prophecy fulfilled: "Not one bone of His shall be broken." (Psalm34:20; Ex.12:46)
- Prophecy fulfilled: "They will look upon the One they have pierced." (Zech.12:10)
- Jesus is buried - Joseph of Arimathaea asks Pilate for the body of Jesus; wrapped it with spices in linen cloths and laid it in a new tomb. (John 19:38-42)
- Pilate consented to a guard being placed at the tomb when he was reminded Jesus
had said, "After 3 days , I shall rise again!" (Matt.27:62-66)
- As the sun was rising Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome came with spices to anoint Jesus. The tomb was empty! There was a great earthquake. An angel had rolled the stone away and sat on it. The stunned guards were like dead men. The angel said, "He is risen! Tell His disciples! He is going to Galilee. You will see Him there." (Matt.28:1-20; Mark16:1-20; Luke 24:1-48; John 20:1-31)
1. Jesus 1st appearance was to Mary Magdalene as she wept outside the tomb. She thought
He was the gardener, but recognised Him when He said, "Mary!" And, "Go and tell My
brethren." (John 20:16,17)
2. His 2nd appearance was to Mary, mother of James, Salome and Joanna.
3. Next, He appears to Peter. (1 Cor.15:5)
4. Then, He met 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus. They eventually recognised Him in the breaking of bread.
5. Next, He appeared to 10 disciples. Thomas was absent.
6. Then, He appeared to them in the upper room with Thomas present, on the Sunday after Easter. Thomas had refused to believe unless He saw Him with his wounds. Christ told him to put his fingers into His wounds, and Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord, and my God!"
7. Jesus appears to the 11 on a mountain in Galilee and commands them to, "Teach all nations!" (Matt.28:16-20)
8. Jesus shows Himself at the Sea of Tiberias and charges Peter to "Feed My lambs!"(Jn.21:15)
9. Next He was seen by more than 500. (1 Cor. 15:6)
10. Then He is seen by James, then by all the apostles. (Acts 1:3-8)
11. Jesus' Ascension., 40 days after His Resurrection. (Mark 16:19,20; Luke24:50-53; Acts 1:9)
12. Last of all, He was seen by St. Paul. (1 Cor.15:8; Acts 9:3-7) (Paul's raptures and revelations: 2 Corinthians 12:2-7)
"...penance and remission of sins is to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)