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Amen Corner - February 14, 2021

Amen Corner - February 14, 2021

Kathy Kuczka

We are days away from Ash Wednesday and that means it is Carnival time! In a typical year, people all over the world, would be celebrating Carnival with parties, parades and pageantry.

The other name for Carnival is Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, is the climax of Carnival. This day is also known as Shrove Tuesday. The word “Shrove” comes from an old English word that means to be absolved from sin. Celebrating Shrove Tuesday is one way people anticipate the penance and fasting of Lent by emptying out their refrigerators and pantries to make pancakes and other delights.

Unlike the masks we now wear to protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus, masks that revelers wear during Carnival serve to add a sense of mystery and fun. Masks have been used in rituals by various societies and tribes for centuries. Masks were first worn during Mardi Gras because they allowed people to escape the judgments imposed on them by society. While wearing a mask, people were free to be whomever they wanted. They could go where they wanted and mingle with whomever they wanted, including the upper class.

Carnival is not the only time masks are worn. We regularly wear invisible masks, often for the same reason as the early revelers--to avoid the judgment of others, to escape pain, to belong. Lent is a season that empowers us to take off the invisible masks we wear and to discover who we really are. Jesus showed us how to do this. During his 40-day sojourn in the desert, Jesus was tempted to put on the masks of superiority, power, and control. He chose instead to trust in God.

During Lent, we too are called to enter our own desert experience, to bare ourselves and to remove the invisible masks that hide who we are. May we, like Jesus, choose instead to trust in God and discover in ourselves a reflection of God who loves us just as we are.


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