Mardi Gras

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“Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age”

This day has an old tradition with probably more meaning in the past when Lent’s fasts were more strict, and more people actually followed those fasts or other aspects of the penitential season. Now it is mostly a commercial venue, and just one more reason to be party. For many the day after Mardi Gras is simply a stupor. History tells that it always has been part of a pagan celebration, and that Catholicism simply incorporated it into its own calendar. Some might rightfully argue that it has reverted to those pagan roots. Many might also argue if Mardi Gras should even be considered part of contemporary Christian tradition and it is true that the day has become abused well beyond its original meaning. There is though some reason to mark the day before ash Wednesday differently from other days as it helps define that beginning Lenten season. It still serves as a reminder of the time to fast, just as there is a time to celebrate. The celebration punctuates the need for the sobriety of lent. It is a reminder of the riches of Easter that are to come, just as Lent can serve as a reminder of what one must go through to reach that Easter. In a sense it is a day of preparation for Lent’s new season. It is a day that should be marked in its own way. The trick though is not to let that Mardi Gras overshadow the journey that it marks, and sadly many times today that is exactly what happens.

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