Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoy, 1872
The first season, Cana Sunday to Hosanna or Palm Sunday, Great Lent, is a preparation for the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord, and the second, the Season of Resurrection, unfolds before us, over a period of fifty days, the meaning and joy of the Resurrection of the Lord. The feast of the Resurrection is thus the center and pivotal point of this whole liturgical season, as well as the whole liturgical year.
According to the ancient Antiochene (Church of Antioch) tradition, the Sundays of Great Lent commemorate the gestures of mercy of the Savior towards his people, which were, at the same time, as Saint John says, "the signs urging the faith." During Lent we journey to that safe harbor guarded by the glorious beacon of the cross.
Passion Week shows us and helps us to follow, each of the perplexities of the passion of our beloved Savior in order to better us by it, associate ourselves to it, and to benefit through its merits so that we too might share in the hope of rising with Christ.
The Season of Resurrection makes us appreciate the salvation which was obtained for us by the death of our Lord, the Good Shepherd, "who gave his life for his sheep".
Introduction- Season of the Great Lent
The Season of Great Lent marks the Church's period of preparation for the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord. This season recalls the forty-day period the Lord spent in the desert in prayer and fasting and at the same time, it invites us to personal conversion through penance, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. During this season we follow the Lord as he goes up to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise to a glorious new life.
The seven Sundays of Great Lent are:
- Entrance into Lent, Cana Sunday;
- First Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Leper;
- Second Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Hemorrhaging Woman;
- Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son;
- Fourth Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Paralytic;
- Fifth Sunday of Lent, Sunday of Bartimaeus the Blind;
- Sixth Sunday of Lent, Hosanna Sunday.
These Sundays of Great Lent place the miracles of the Lord before us, especially his healing miracles, which are the messianic signs of his power over sin and death. They point to the greatest wonder of God, the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Each of these miracles are signs of the faith of the one being healed. We are called to respond to Jesus as they did by deepening our faith in the Lord and Giver of life. (From Prayer of the Faithful According to the Maronite Liturgical Year)
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