The next Sunday of Lent is historically known as “Passion Sunday” which ushers in the final week of Lent, called “Passiontide.”
Passiontide is characterized by a heightened celebration of Lent as Easter approaches, reaching its peak during Holy Week. During this period the faithful redouble their Lenten penances. It is also customary on this day to shroud all the sacred images in the churches with purple cloths, except the Stations of the Cross. On Good Friday the crucifixes are unveiled, while the other sacred images are unveiled on the afternoon of Holy Saturday in preparation for the Easter Vigil. This imagery calls to mind how Christ hid his Divinity during his Passion and death, no longer performing miracles until his Resurrection from the dead. Likewise, the holy images are veiled in imitation of their Lord, their glory being unveiled with the joy of the celebration of Easter.
We have covered the crucifixes with purple cloth. This is to help us prepare for the Resurrection. Children often ask why. Try to explain that we enter to “fast” with our eyes. Just as fasting from food we fast some of our religious symbols to remind us of the great importance of the resurrection.
As you read today’s gospel pay attention to the theme of light. Christ is the light of the world, the light that has come into the world. Our blindness prevents us from seeing Him as He truly is. Without His light we walk in darkness. Without the crucifixion we would remain in darkness.
Each day this week I will try to give you a little more about Holy Week.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen