When the Sun goes down tonight, Jewish families will begin the final search of Chametz (leaven) throughout the house in preparation for Erev Pesach (Passover Eve) tomorrow. What many Christians do not recognize is that we will have kept that tradition as well.
When you walk into a parish Church for Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper the tabernacle will be empty and clean. The old Easter Candle is gone. The old oils are gone.
In both cases the symbolism is the same. We are putting the old life behind us. We are beginning anew.
The passover celebration will last for eight day. Our celebration lasts three, commemorating the three days in the tomb.
What we begin on Thursday evening, continues on Friday with the Celebration of the Lord's Passion. At this service the priest simply enters and says the opening prayer. There is no beginning because it is not separate from Thursday. At the end of Friday he exits in silence because the service is not over.
On Saturday, the celebration continues with the Easter Vigil. At the end of the Easter Vigil, there is a closing and the first Easter blessing. What was begun on Thursday ends on Saturday.
Is is really too much to ask that people take a small portion of three day to commemorate what should be for any Christian the most important events in the history of the world. And what does it say about our faith if we decide that sitting home is more important?
Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. Take the time in these next few days. Dedicate these days to God. Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful your Lent has been. Walk the journey to new life, beginning today.