On The Last Day of Lent

It is the final day of  lent, of Holy Week, and of the Easter Triduum, the three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday) immediately preceding Easter, during which Christians commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and prepare for His Resurrection.

One thing I look forward for on a day like this is the Easter Baskets of Blessings. Dishes put in Easter baskets include pastry and various cakes, meat (usually only pork — smoked ham, smoked pork thigh, shoulder, and sausages), painted Easter eggs and horseradish.

These foods all have a symbolic importance. Easter eggs represent the blood of Christ, his tears or five wounds; meat symbolizes his body; a cake, his crown; sausages, the ropes with which Christ was tied; and horseradish represents the nails with which Christ was crucified.

More importantly Holy Saturday is more than chocolate eggs, and it’s a bit of a dark one. That’s because Holy Saturday isn’t just the day before Easter. For Christians it’s the day Jesus descended to Hell before his Resurrection. Of course, Jesus didn’t go to Hell for his own sake – it was to release imprisoned spirits so they could enter Heaven.

Many churches hold services, and the Easter vigil dates back to Roman times. This is a service held as an official celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is marked by the use of a wax candle which is inscribed with a cross. Sometime five grains representing the wounds of Christ are pushed into the soft wax.

Services or Mass held today is the Easter Vigil Mass, which takes place after sundown on Holy Saturday, properly belongs to Easter Sunday, since liturgically, each day begins at sundown on the previous day. (That is why Saturday vigil Masses can fulfill our Sunday duty). Unlike on Good Friday, when Holy Communion is distributed at the afternoon liturgy commemorating Christ’s Passion, on Holy Saturday the Eucharist is only given to the faithful as viaticum—that is, only to those in danger of death, to prepare their souls for their journey to the next life.

Much has happened on the world stage since the time of Christ, but nothing has ever eclipsed the magnitude and meaning of what happened in AD 30—the death and resurrection of the Savior of the world.

Remember the celebration of marriages is forbidden, as also the celebration of other sacraments, except those of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick. All you need do today is to await his resurrection in silence.

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