Sunday Reflection

Observing Lent : Lent, or “As-Sawm” in Arabic, is the period of 40
days (some churches count Sundays, others do not) before the Easter
Feast. Traditionally, Lent is a period of fasting, prayer and penitence
that culminates in Holy Week with the commemoration of Jesus
Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The 40
days are symbolic of the time that Jesus spent in the desert when he
was tested by the Devil. Lent is a time for “reconsidering discipleship
and examining life and obedience to God.”

Despite their concurrence, the Great Lent of the Maronite Church is
not the same as the Lent of the Roman Catholic Church, a fact that
reflects the unique historical position of this community of Catholics
in the East. The Church, which is western by virtue of its longstanding
communion with Rome, is also eastern in that it uses an eastern
rite and Syriac liturgy, in addition to observing a more or less orthodox
Lent. Maronites, unlike Roman Catholics, do count the Sundays
in Lent as part of the 40 days, which means that the liturgical season
begins two days earlier and ends a full week earlier, marking off Holy
Week as a separate liturgical period. Fasting, however, lasts
through Holy Week to Easter, adding up to a total of eight weeks.