Moses and Aaron led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The people marched dry-shod across the Red Sea, because the power of God parted the waters for them. They passed over the sea, as a people united in a procession towards their goal.
The Passover. The Passover is a procession. People marching forward together, united by the power of God.
We keep especially-holy the forty days before the celebration of Passover. We do this in order to join in the procession. We want to take part in the liberation that God gives His chosen people.
The Hebrews marched toward the Promised Land of Israel, as a symbol. They represented the entire human race, redeemed from sin by the Christ, marching spiritually towards God. Lent draws us into that procession. For forty days we prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the ancient Passover of Israel as the great feast of our salvation in Christ.
How? What do we do through these forty days, to prepare ourselves?
1. We pray more. Because to march towards God, we need to pray. The holy procession of Passover is, above all, a prayer–our lifting of our hearts to God. 2. We give things up; we fast. And 3. We give things away. Because marching towards God requires letting go of everything else. The Israelites had to remove all leaven from their homes. Again, a symbol. We must remove from our lives all superfluous attachments to earthly things.
We take part in the great Passover procession by focusing on the true goal that we human beings have in life. God. Nothing less than God.
In Holy Baptism, Jesus initiated us into the divine mystery of His eternal procession to the Father. Lent teaches us that truly living means one thing: marching towards God.