Forgive me for being a momentary church nerd…
Many people wonder how the count of “40 days of Lent” is obtained, considering there are more days than 40 between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s actually quite interesting! In the Christian liturgical calendar, every Sunday is considered a “mini Easter,” in a sense. That is, every Sunday, the liturgy celebrates the Eucharist (meaning “Thanksgiving”), which commemorates the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. So, none of the Sundays during Lent is counted during the 40 days of Lent.
So, it goes something like this:
- Ash Wednesday = first day of Lent
- 1st Thursday after Ash Wednesday = second day of Lent
- 1st Friday after Ash Wednesday = third day of Lent
- 1st Saturday after Ash Wednesday = fourth day of Lent
- 1st Monday after Ash Wednesday = fifth day of Lent
- and so on.
The fortieth day (i.e., the last day of Lent) is Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). And why is Lent 40 days? It is a remembrance of the 40 days and nights that Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert, as written in the Gospels (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, Mark 1:9-15). We journey with Jesus in the desert to the cross. It is a living commemoration of Christ’s preparation for his crucifixion and rise to eternal life.
Ok, momentary lapse into church nerd is over. Have a blessed Lent!