That’s right, folks. Go ahead and eat that chocolate. The Sundays “during” Lent are actually not considered part of Lent. Blasphemy?! Nope! I speak no heresy.
Sundays are Sabbath days. They are Divinely-mandated days of rest, feasting, and rejoicing. Jesus Himself says that He wants us to keep holy the Sabbath day in this particular way, sans mourning, fasting, penance, et cetera– even during the Lenten season. Sundays, besides Palm Sunday, are simply not considered part of the Lenten season.
This has always kinda confused me. I’ve wondered if I should “break” my Lenten fasts or not stick to my Lenten resolutions just because it’s a Sunday during Lent. And if I have “broken” them (the ones that don’t have to do with abstaining from a particular sin, that is), I’ve felt some cognitive dissonance and guilt. But we shouldn’t be guilty if we choose to do so!
A lot of people say: “Yeah, but that’s such a bad excuse. It’s better to go all 46 days fasting or doing your resolutions. After all, Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days. Why not us?”
OK, true. But are we Jesus? No! He is Our King. And He told us to keep holy the Sabbath day in a particular kind of spirit– one of rejoicing– even during Lent. So while we want to emulate Him in that way during Lent, even He recommends not doing so.
In Matthew 9:15, Jesus teaches us the true spirit of the Sabbath:
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
O, how great is Christ’s mercy! In our humanity, He knows how broken, how lost, how empty we will regularly feel, most especially if we do not regularly rejoice in Him, the Ultimate Gift of our life. On Sundays in particular, we are to remember that He is with us. We shall not mourn or fast.
Knowing that we may simply work ourselves into a dead end, Our LORD in His goodness has commanded us that on Sundays, we must stop working and must simply revel in receiving Him.
So, if you’d like to have a little rest from your Lenten fasts or resolutions during Lent (caveat: so long as they are not sinful in nature, duh!), then go ahead! Rest away and do not worry about your Lenten penances and practices. Rest in Him and rejoice in Him!
Don’t worry– the “Alleluia” is soon to come!
Twenty days till the Easter Vigil, guys!