Throughout Lent we took time to reflect on how we can grow closer to God through prayer, acts of service, and reflecting on the life of Christ. How do we apply the lessons learned and the experiences witnessed during Lent and Holy Week?
While Lent and Holy Week help us be reflective and penitential, we can examine our consciences and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout the year. The more we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the more we can work on our intimate relationship with Christ and one another.
We also deepened our prayer lives. Jesus went to the garden to be alone with his Father before the start of his Passion, preparing to endure what was to come. Prayer helps us receive the grace we need to face the particular challenges of each day. Allow the new forms of prayer practiced during Lent to become part of the daily routine in Easter and beyond. Before we can share our faith with others, we ourselves need to be in union with Christ.
Through our Lenten almsgiving, we witnessed the importance of serving others, a message which we receive clearly during the Triduum. On Holy Thursday we heard how Jesus knelt down and washed the disciples’ feet before the meal. (John 13:1–20) Jesus, our role model, was telling us that there is nothing too small or beneath us when it comes to showing love for our neighbor.
On Holy Thursday we also celebrated the Institution of the Eucharist. (Matthew 26:26–30) The Apostles thought they were gathering around the table for the Seder celebration, a tradition they had been honoring since their youth. During this celebration Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then, giving thanks, he took the cup and said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant.” The Eucharist is the grace-filled nourishment we all need to live as disciples of Christ.
Jesus’ final Holy Week lesson was his Passion. As he was being arrested, scourged, crowned, and ridiculed, as he carried his Cross and breathed his last breath, Jesus taught us the power of self-denial and sacrificial love. Holy Saturday was a day of anticipation. On this day every church around the world waited, with the tabernacle doors wide open and empty, waiting and longing to be filled again with the Body of Christ.
The lessons of Lent and Holy Week are never finished. Jesus is our role model, and when we apply the lessons we learned during these seasons throughout the year, we will become Easter people who sing, “Jesus has risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
As catechetical leaders, we can help the young people we teach and their families apply the lessons of Lent and become Easter people. At my parish, we offer opportunities throughout the remainder of the catechetical year to apply the lessons learned. During regular session times, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, have a teaching Mass, and gather for a day of service on a Saturday to clean up the parish property inside and out. These opportunities help keep the Easter spirit alive and empower the domestic church.
How do you help young people apply the lessons of Lent during Easter Season?
The With My Family section at the end of Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts sessions has ideas for celebrating the liturgical seasons at home, including Easter.