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Perspective: Lenten season is road to Easter joy

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By Auxiliary Bishop Felipe Pulido

The season of Lent and the Easter Triduum are a road that takes us to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the movie “El Padrecito,” the great Mexican comedian and actor Cantinflas tells us that sayings are “tiny gospels.” So, I would like to begin with a saying in Spanish, “No hay mal que por bien no venga,” roughly equivalent to “God brings good out of evil.”

This refrain tells us that we can all learn from our experiences, that we can take away some lesson, some grace, some good, even from experiences that seem negative at first. This expression, “God brings good out of evil,” invites us to think that, despite all the bad things we experience in life, we can always hope that something good will come.

In the Gospels, we learned that our Lord Jesus spent His life doing good, and yet He was taken to the cross; however, after His passion and death, God glorified Him and “gave Him the name that is above every name.”

In other words, Jesus experienced evil and death, but God elevated Him and glorified Him in the resurrection.

The Lenten journey begins on Ash Wednesday (this year on Feb. 14), followed by 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which might seem a time of sacrifice. But at the end of the Easter Triduum — that is, Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection — we always experience the resurrection. In other words, we experience so many graces and God’s mercy in our lives. We die to sin, but rise with Jesus to a new life.

The good news is that we do not walk alone in our journey of Lent and the Easter Triduum. The Church walks with us as a mother who gives us life at baptism, takes us by the hand with tenderness, patience and wisdom, and after Lent introduces us to the Paschal Mystery of Christ.

The Church leads us through the sacred celebration of the Easter Triduum and invites us to enter with Jesus into the mystery of His death and resurrection. The one big liturgy of Holy Thursday (Mass of the Lord’s Supper), Good Friday (with the commemoration of Christ’s Passion) and Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) is the most sacred of the year. The entire Church makes these three days a type of sacred refuge where we can meditate in prayer about all that the Lord has done for our salvation.

Like the Jewish people were saved from slavery in Egypt, we are freed from the slavery of our sins and we receive the gift of eternal life through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to end sin, and we received the fruits of His death, without having to die, through baptism and the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

When we think about Lent, we think about things that we give up. For example, not eating red meat, not using social media, not drinking alcohol, etc. But during Lent, we should think about things that we “give in.” For example, if you feel like going to Mass on weekdays give in. If you feel like helping others, do it. Or, if you want to go to reconciliation, give in.

I hope, this season of Lent, you start walking with Jesus toward Easter. Lent takes us not only to the cross, but also to the Resurrection.

For the most part, we tend to concentrate on the negative, and sometimes that’s where we get stuck. I hope that, in this Lenten season, we remember what the Lord has done for us by His passion, death and resurrection; that we don’t just focus on sin, evil and the cross, but accompany Jesus until the resurrection; and that we remember that Lent always leads us to Easter joy.

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