By Martin Jumbam
Mother Church celebrates Sunday, March 9, 2014, as the First Sunday of Lent – Year A. In the entrance antiphon we pray, “When he calls to me, I will answer; I will rescue him and give him honour. Long life and contentment will be his. Amen.” As we enter the Lenten season, it is appropriate to answer the question: what is Lent? The word ‘lent’ does not have any religious or Christian meaning, being an old Anglo-Saxon word for spring time, lencten. It describes the gradual lengthening of daylight after the winter solstice. So it is a word that is associated in Europe with the weather, marking the transition from winter to spring. It’s not clear how it became associated with Christianity, but it is the period coming about a month and a half after Christmas during which the whole Church goes on retreat for six weeks, that is, for 40 days, for an annual spiritual renewal. It prepares us to celebrate Christianity’s most fundamental belief, i. e. that Christ died, rose from the dead and is alive. In the absence of this belief, there is no Christianity.