March 25, 2018

Today we begin our journey through Holy Week. The shouts of “Hosanna,” for Jesus and the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, set us on the road that will lead to the glory of the great three days of Easter, the Sacred Triduum.

That term “Triduum,” is a Latin word that means “a space for three days.” The space we make is a space in our hearts and in our daily routine. Something should be different about that routine this week. These days, from Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper through Easter Sunday, should take precedence over everything else in our schedule this week.

On Holy Thursday our Lenten journey comes to an end and we gather in the evening to celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the institution of the priesthood. These two beginnings are rooted in what we commemorate at this Mass. On this night we remember Jesus gathering with his disciples to celebrate the Last Supper. That Supper becomes for us a perpetual memorial to what Jesus did that night.

Not only did he identify his very body and blood, his eternal presence, with the bread broken and the cup shared, but he showed us how to be broken and shared ourselves in imitation of him. We read from John’s Gospel on Holy Thursday and hear of Jesus getting down on his hands and knees to take the role of a servant and wash the feet of his disciples. Then he tells us that as he has done, so must we do.

In this command he shows us that the sharing in his body and blood necessarily involves service to others. He shows us that all his followers, and especially those called to priesthood, should have in their mind his example of humble service.

We make that service concrete in this liturgy by returning our Rice Bowls, the fruit of our Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Remember to bring your Rice Bowls to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. There is a special rubric in the Mass for that night. On Sundays the collection is taken up for the Church and the poor, but on this night the instruction is simply that the collection is for the poor. At the end of this liturgy, we will spend time lingering over his presence, and adoring his presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Day two of the Sacred Triduum begins with our Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. This solemn liturgy (not Mass - the only day of the year when we do not celebrate Mass) plunges us into the mystery of God’s love for us in the passion and death of Jesus. We hear the Gospel from St. John, and how Jesus goes willingly, almost eagerly, to the cross, where he reigns supreme as Messiah and Lord. Then we come forward and make a special act of reverence to the cross.

Our Easter celebration begins at night on Holy Saturday, and continues through the evening of Easter Sunday. This is Day Three of the Sacred Triduum. At St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph we will make new Christians in the water bath of Easter. This year we do not have any Elect to be baptized at Our Lady Star of the Sea, so the Easter Candle for our community in Stevenson will be blessed at the Vigil at
St. Thomas and then brought to Star of the Sea to burn with the bright light of Jesus’ Risen Presence for the Easter Sunday liturgy.

I hope you will make space for these great three days this week. May we also make space for those who will join us as visitors. In our hospitality and welcome of them, may they find in us compelling signs of the Lord’s risen life among us.

Happy Holy Week!

Fr. Gary Lazzeroni