The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Week

It has begun! Once again we commence the high point of the Church's liturgical year with the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. Yesterday, Holy Thursday afternoon, we celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper at our parish. Our pastor, Fr. Peter, assisted by six deacons and accompanied by our parish's choir, lifted up our hearts in thanksgiving for the gift of the Eucharist and for the example of our Lord who came to serve, not to be served. And all went wonderfully well. We did make one or two minor liturgical errors, of the sort that only a few, if any, people might notice. Both resulted from my failure to anticipate them. Ah, well, I'm sure God was pleased nevertheless.

And so today, on Good Friday, our church has undergone a change. The tabernacle is empty and open, the altar is stripped of altar cloths, holy water fonts are dry...all to prepare us to watch with Jesus as he prays in Gethsemane, to walk with Jesus along the Way of the Cross , to be one with Jesus as he hangs on the Cross and dies for our sins.

There is no Mass today. Instead we enter together into Jesus' passion and death by reading the Passion story from John's Gospel. Then, through a series of intercessions, we pray together for all of God's people, for His entire world, that all may turn to Him, their Redeemer.

This is followed by our veneration of the Cross. It is through this veneration that we call to mind the great paradox, the great irony of human history: how a device, symptomatic of mankind's cruelty, can become the very instrument of its salvation. This is something only our loving God can accomplish. Praise Him!

Finally, we come together to receive the Eucharist, the gift beyond words -- the only gift that keeps on giving. It is through the Eucharist that Jesus makes good on His promise to be with us always until "the close of the age."

Tomorrow night we will begin our celebration of Jesus Christ's Resurrection, the event that fills us with hope and gives us a glimpse into what awaits those who love the Lord.

More on that tomorrow...

God's peace.

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