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Lent and Easter: Christ transforms as we journey together

Julian Paparella

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

What is the connection between synodality, Lent, and Easter? In what sense is our journey through Lent and Easter synodal?
The answer can be summarized by two key ideas: “walking together” and “transformation.” 
Synodality reminds us that the journey through Lent to Easter is not a solo sport, but a path that we are called to walk together. First of all, we walk together with God. It is Christ who leads us and goes before us. Lent and Easter are a time of walking forward with Jesus, following Him more closely, and realizing anew how close He is to us. At the same time, walking with Christ opens us up to one another. Being a disciple is not only about following Jesus, but about doing so with others, just like the first apostles that Jesus gathered around Himself. They walked around Galilee and Judea together for three years following Jesus. They weren’t walking around as lone rangers but as part of a community on a journey. That’s what the Church is too. 
How easy it is to see Lent as our own personal journey in which each one of us strives to make our own individual efforts. But Lent is not meant to be experienced alone, just as Easter is not meant to be celebrated alone. Lent and Easter are the journey of the whole Church through the desert to the promised land, from death to new life, from sin to salvation, from the Cross to the Resurrection. This year, let us seize the opportunity to live this path together. 
This brings us to our second key word: transformation. Our experience of Lent and Easter are meant to transform us, and so too is the path of synodality. The two go hand in hand. As we know, Lent is a time of conversion: to prepare ourselves for Easter, to open our hearts, and to let ourselves be changed by God. Jesus invites us to focus ourselves on Him and on others, overcoming our temptations to remain centred on ourselves. Synodality involves this very same kind of conversion. Our journey through Lent and Easter is a chance to be renewed by Christ every year. Synodality is the path by which God wants to renew the whole Church in this season of human history. Christ transforms us as we walk together with one another, as Christians and as human beings. Synodality is not only a way of walking together as disciples but also a way of walking together with the world. Our mission as a Church is to share with everyone the joy of Easter, of Christ who is truly risen and present in our midst. Walking with the world is the path by which we can live out this mission in the 21st century. 
As we walk through the seasons of Lent and Easter, find ways of sharing your experience with others. It is not a path we walk alone. Seize the opportunity to speak to others about the ways that you have grown in Lent. Dare to spread the joy of Easter more widely this year, especially with those who are on the margins. Perhaps invite someone from outside your family circle to join you for Easter, or reach out to a relative that you have lost contact with. Let yourself be transformed by the experience of walking together with others in the light of the Risen Christ, who calls us not only as individuals but together. Our crucified and risen Lord comes to encounter us through others, just as He comes to encounter others through us. He is present and alive in our midst as we journey together.
For more on the Synod on Synodality, watch the latest episode of Step by Step: Synod Stories now on Salt + Light Plus.

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