What is meant by Lent?

     From March sixth to April eighteenth, Christians around the world will be denying themselves a temptation. Starting on Ash Wednesday, sacrifices will begin. Whether it is giving up a food or a habit, the church will begin to deny something and reflect for the 40 days leading up to Easter. The Lenten season is done as a representation of Jesus Christ.

     According to the Bible, after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, he fasted for 40 days in the Judean Desert. Although Satan continuously tempted Jesus, He refused. In Mark 1:12-13 (NIV) it states, “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.” To this day, Catholic and some Protestant churches participate in Lent to represent the sacrifices Jesus made. The resisting of temptation will give the person an opportunity to reflect and focus on Jesus instead of their worldly desires. Pope Francis explained, “Lent is a good time for sacrificing. Let us deny ourselves something every day to help others.”

     With Ash Wednesday approaching, Waukee students are now preparing for the Lenten season. Sophomore, Justin Johnson said, “For Lent I am giving up ice cream. I eat a ton. The workers at Dairy Queen know me by name.” Many people choose to give up something that would be difficult for them. It is also common for people to give up something bad. Brayden Harder stated, “I am definitely giving up soda for Lent.” Other habits students are giving up are cursin, vaping and social media.

     In the Catholic church, there are also strict rules about fasting and abstaining during Lent. Every Catholic older than fourteen should not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, or any Friday during the period. It is also encouraged for all people between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday to follow the example of the disciples explained in the book Matthew.

     Catholics also follow the tradition of having their forehead covered in ashes on Ash Wednesday. Ashes on the head was often a biblical expression of mourning, and the tradition is to mourn the sufferings of Christ on the cross. In Jeremiah 6:26 (NIV) it says, “ Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.”

     “Lent means being able to give something up that is bad for your life, showing that we can take out the bad and focus on the good things, like God and the sacrifices he has given to us,” said Johnson. Lent challenges followers to guide their thoughts and focus on Jesus and His sacrifices opposed to their own. It is symbolic and is celebrated from the example set in the Bible.


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