Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Pre-Holy Week Charge

Getting ready for Holy Week at Fatima, I included this little article in the parish bulletin for Judica Sunday:

Next Sunday, Palm Sunday, we enter into the living memory of our Lord’s triumphal entry into the Holy City. On Holy Thursday we are present at the Last Supper and witness the institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the institution of the Holy Priesthood. On Good Friday, we stand with the Beloved Disciple and the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the cross as her Son, our Redeemer, breathes his last, bowing his bloody and wounded head in bitter death. We depart the Skull Place to accompany Joseph of Arimathaea, placing Christ into the freshly hewn tomb. On Saturday, we witness the glorious miracle of the resurrection, the first light of Salvation, as the Easter fire is lit. We recall the necessary sin of Adam, by which is won for us a Savior. On Sunday morning, we encounter with the Magdalene the empty tomb and rejoice in our Lord’s rising from the dead.
The music of the Holy Week and Easter liturgies recalls these events and heightens our real participation in them. These are no dramatic re-creations, no quaint, nostalgic reminiscences of the past! We are drawn into living memory to witness our salvation with our own living senses. We ourselves are present at and participate in the actual events, which themselves transcend time. At the washing of the feet, we hear the words of Christ as he instructs us, his disciples, regarding the new commandment to love one another. We are reproached by our Lord on Good Friday as we adore the faithful cross, “O my People, what have I done to you? Answer me! I opened up the Red Sea for you, and you opened up my side with a lance. I have given you a royal scepter, and you have given me a crown of thorns.” On Saturday, the Easter light appears and spreads throughout the Church, as news of the risen Lord spreads among the faithful. The Church on earth and in heaven rejoice in our triumphant Lord. The names of the saints are invoked, and we renew our baptismal promises, casting off Old Adam and rising anew as children of the Light. On Sunday, we sing the glorious Easter sequence in which we learn from Mary Magdalene what she saw in the garden, “Tell us, Mary what did you see? ‘The tomb of the living Christ, and rising glory. I saw the angelic witnesses, our Lord’s burial cloth and shroud. Christ my hope has arisen and goes before his people into Galilee.’ ” We respond to her witness, “We know that Christ truly has risen from the dead, He is our victor King! Amen! Alleluia!”

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