We have just started our 40 days of Lent – a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
In my recent radio interview with Prof Thomas O’Loughlin, he said that 40 days were like an eternity for the people in the Bible. Maybe similar to what some people mean when they say that he or she wouldn’t have imagined a certain situation “in a million years”.
We start Lent with Ash Wednesday with ashes or with dust – and the reminder that our earthly life has a beginning and an end. According to Genesis 2:7 “the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”
From dust to dust. The ashes as a sign of mortality.
However, in the First Epistle of Peter we are told that death in the flesh is not the end. Lent is our time of preparation to get ready for our renewal of baptism during the Great Vigil of Easter.
Lent 2021 is the second Lent during the Covid 19 pandemic. The traditional Ash Wednesday Mass was celebrated in only very few places around the world.
On my picture, you see a board covered with dust – except for the part where a cross was resting during the time that the dust built up. The cross prevented the dust from falling onto the board.
Underneath the cross, or maybe in a spiritual way, beyond the cross, there is no dust but life.
As much as Lent reminds us of our mortality and calls us to be of a new mindset, the Sundays of Lent remind us that there will be new light and life through Easter.