RE-LIVING THE ROOTS OF OUR FAITH. Every Sacrament and holy Mass enables us to be present to Christ – and Christ to ‘be present’ to us. For we do not simply ‘reenact’ the mysteries of our Faith during Holy Week; they are re-presented to us so that we can take part in them each year. Thus, we are being reconnected to the original source of the countless graces won for us during the Sacred Paschal or Easter Triduum. That was made evident in today’s Invitation to the Procession: “Like those who acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem, let us go forth in peace …” For through Sacred Liturgy, we become participants in our Lord’s saving deeds.
Even if you were not physically present for today’s liturgy, it is not too late to join in! [Any leftover blessed palm branches are left in the narthex.] Nor should that all-too-common attitude: ‘been there, done that’ keep us from coming to Holy Week Services year after year. For we ourselves are different each year, as is our Parish, our Church, and our world. Besides, as we near the end of the first of the three-year ‘National Eucharistic Revival’ or ‘NER’ and continue to reflect on the revised Order of Penance aka ‘Confession’ – it’s the perfect week to get back into or deeper into ‘being Church!’
For it was through the events of this holiest of weeks that the Eucharist, Penance and all the Sacraments were infused with the grace that makes them THE ULTIMATE source of God’s help for us who are now journeying with Christ and His Church. As my bulletin articles or miniseries on both the ‘National Eucharistic Revival’ and the revised Order of Penance aka ‘Confession’ stress: through the Sacraments, especially those first promulgated this week, we find all we need to safely navigate through life and into heaven. To read or reread past bulletin articles, go to www.stmaryrutherford.org.
‘… THAT IS TODAY …’ Only for Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Roman Canon, or the venerable Eucharistic Prayer I, does the Church add a phrase to the Institution Narrative. I highlighted three of these added words in the intro to this paragraph. Below, in black, is what we usually pray; in red are the words that are added only for Mass on Holy Thursday night: “On the day before he was to suffer for our salvation and the salvation of all, that is today, he took bread…” Grasping this notion that we are not reenacting what once happened, but what is now happening, and will happen, again and again, until Christ’s return in glory, is essential! No Sacrament is properly understood unless we realize its eternal purposes and consequences!
“TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.” In all four Gospels, Jesus told us to take up our cross each day and to lose our life in order to save it. The main Good Friday Liturgy has three parts: after a somber, silent prostration, we hear Saint John’s powerful presentation of the Passion, followed by the same solemn Intercessions offered in every Roman Catholic Church. The last part is the reception of Holy Communion with hosts consecrated Holy Thursday night as we do not celebrate Mass on Good Friday. Between these parts, we adore the holy Cross; we reverence a Cross with a kiss, bow, genuflection, or some other sign to unite our own personal pains and sufferings, sorrows and eventual death with Christ’s redemptive sufferings. What will you bring to the Cross this Good Friday?
OUR NEW LIFE IN CHRIST. The Easter Triduum erupts into 50 days of joy, starting with the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. As we promise our triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, that we will live for God – we receive our God’s promise to always be FOR us and WITH us! The four-part Easter Vigil Mass, the climax of the year, sets the stage for a seven-week-long festival, which concludes with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. No one should miss this three-day annual ‘retreat’ during which we are restored, refreshed, and renewed! Unlike the dreaded booster shots we may be ‘stuck’ with [pun intended!] for years to come, this annual dose of divine grace offers us holy protection from all that could harm our immortal soul! Make these events your TOP PRIORITY this Holy Week!
With God’s love and my prayers,
Very Rev. Michael J. Kreder, VF, KCHS