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Scott P. Richert

The Fifth Week of Lent: Passiontide

By April 6, 2014

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Easter 2014 is only two weeks away. Until the introduction of the new liturgical calendar in 1969, these final two weeks of Lent were known as Passiontide, and they commemorated the increasing revelation of Christ's divinity, as well as His movement toward Jerusalem, which He enters on Palm Sunday and where His Passion will take place starting on the night of Holy Thursday.

Even after the revision of the liturgical calendar, we can still see this shift in focus in the Church's other liturgical celebrations. The Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent, drawn from the Office of the Readings, part of the official prayer of the Catholic Church known as the Liturgy of the Hours, are no longer taken from the accounts of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land, as they were earlier in Lent. Instead, they come from the Letter to the Hebrews, in which Saint Paul interprets the Old Testament in light of the New.

If you've ever had trouble understanding just how the Old Testament relates to our life as Christians, and how the historical journey of the Israelites is a type of our spiritual journey in the Church, the readings for this week and for Holy Week will help to make everything clear. If you haven't been following along in the scripture readings for Lent, there's no better time to start than now.

More on Passiontide and Scripture Readings for Lent:

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