Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday. The day immediately preceding it is called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday got its name because it was the day when Catholic families used up all of the lard in their houses cooking pastries and pancakes so they wouldn’t have any animal fat left in their homes on the first day of Lent, which is traditionally a season of fasting.
Lent is 40 days long, because after his baptism, Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for 40 days and nights. The story of Jesus’ temptation is often the sermon text for the first weekend of Lent (as it will be for us) – because it reminds us that living a life of faith requires a choice on our part.
In other words, Lent isn’t just about “giving something up” for a few weeks. Rather, it’s about being something different. It’s about choosing to walk with Jesus the path that leads not only to the cross, but to abundant and eternal life. I look forward to making the journey again with you this year, as we each seek to find our place on the journey to the cross.