I would like to clarify theological question.
But before we start I would like to mention something here.
Most of us rarely, if ever, read the Holy Scriptures. We are an easy prey for those false prophets of modern times because we hardly know anything from the Holy Scriptures, therefore, anything about our orthodox faith that originates from it. That cannot happen to those that are deep-rooted in the Christian thought and essence. If we were to test each other we would find very few to whom the Holy Scriptures is soul food. If we don’t feed our souls with the Holy Scriptures we, unfortunately, do something else and that is we interpret it wrongly.
I don’t even know-when we talk about Lent- how many times I have heard, even from those that have never opened the Holy Scriptures, that ”sin does not enter through the mouth but comes out of the mouth”. And for that main, or better yet “crowning” argument against the Lent, they say that it is written “there, in the Holy Scriptures”. Nobody could tell me where exactly it was written and not to mention the context in which it was used. If they read the Holy Scriptures they would know what lead to that thought and they would understand the true meaning of it.
It is correct that in the Holy Scriptures, more specifically, in the Gospel by Matthew, chapter 15, verse 10 and 11, it is written: “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” As you can see, it is written, but let’s see why it was written and what is the context of it.
Let’s just be clear about it, this has nothing to do with the Lent. This is about understanding, accepting, respecting and following the old traditions, and regulations of the Old Testament. In order to understand this, we need to go back and read this statement from the beginning. And this is what it says: “Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked: Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” (Matthew 15, 1-2) Jesus proved to them that they didn’t follow the traditions of the elders either. And He reminded them of the words of the Old Testament’s prophet Isaiah, who was well known to them: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13) After that, Jesus called the people and said that sentence about unclean mouth that we misuse so often.
We would be very mistaken if we interpreted Jesus’ opposing to Pharisees’, or formal, request for washing hands as His opposing to good hygiene. It is not about that of course. It is about special, ritual of washing hands; a practiцe from the Old Testament. Since Jesus is against everything that is formal, he is against this hypocritical Pharisees’ law.
It is now clear that this sentence spoken by Jesus is not about the Lent and that it does not deny the Lent. We would need a lot more time to explain how much importance is given to the Lent in the Holy Scriptures. Lent is as important as the prayer and they are inseparable. It is important that we know this and that we teach those who wrongfully quote the Holy Scriptures and unintentionally misuse it. God save their souls as well as ours.