Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Gospel Reflection, March 31, 2013: They saw the stone rolled away from the tomb...

Easter is here!  Christ is Risen!  

By his death and resurrection, Jesus has put an end to death, allowing us access to life eternal.  He has left his tomb and walks again among us.  May we, too, leave behind the tomb that holds us captive.  May grace prevail as the broken are healed, the lowly are raised, and the sorrowful rejoice.  And may our celebration of Easter joy draw us closer to God, opening us to the love that God proffers, and to the relationship that will define our wonder and our peace.


Saturday, March 30, 2013


Exsultet is the first word of the beautifully poetic hymn sung in praise to God for the light of the Paschal candle during the liturgy of Holy Saturday:  it is the Latin word for Rejoice!  The Exsultet was composed sometime between the 5th century and the 7th century, and likely came into regular usage in the 9th century.  When this hymn is sung, the church is traditionally in shadow, illuminated only by the flame of the Paschal candle itself and the myriad candles held by the faithful, lit from the Paschal candle.  The atmosphere is one of hushed expectation, as the assembled wait for the moving proclamation of the wondrous works of God throughout salvation history, culminating in the Paschal mystery.  Listen with your heart…

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,  
Exult, let angel ministers of God exult,
Let the trumpet of salvation
Sound aloud our mighty king's triumph!

For a more in-depth look at the Exsultet, click here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Written at the Bottom of a Crucifix

"Written at the Bottom of a Crucifix"
by Victor Hugo; translated by Geoffrey Barto

You who cry, come to this God, for He cries.
You who suffer, come to Him, for He cures.
You who tremble, come to Him, for He smiles.
You who pass, come to Him, for He remains.


Ecrit en bas d'un crucifix

Vous qui pleurez, venez à ce Dieu, car il pleure.
Vous qui souffrez, venez à lui, car il guérit.
Vous qui tremblez, venez à lui, car il sourit.
Vous qui passez, venez à lui, car il demeure.

Text source:  Les Contemplations III:  Les luttes et les rêves

Thursday, March 28, 2013

As I Have Done for You

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, during which we hear the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.  Imagine the shock of the everyone present:  even the lowliest Jewish slave could not be required to wash the feet of another person.  So why does Jesus do this?

Well, on one level, it is an act of kindness, a final, tangible gift of Jesus’ loving care for those who had followed him and supported him throughout his ministry.  More importantly, in so doing, Jesus becomes the Servant of all.  His gesture is purifying, cleansing, wiping away any obstacles the disciples might have to communion, removing any iota of darkness so that their hearts might be open to his love.  Most importantly, when Jesus is done, he asks them to wash each other’s feet, following his example.  It is an injunction that we are called to take to heart today.

Jesus is the model of God’s Love, a Love that, in his absence, will rely for its embodiment on the disciples themselves.  As Christ’s body, they will be called to serve – as we are called to serve, humbly, reverently.  To wash another’s feet is perhaps the most intimate gesture of hospitality possible.  It requires that we love beyond all boundaries, with open hearts.  It requires that we be God's Love... for the world.

Music video source:  Dan Schutte, "As I Have Done for You"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Entering the Triduum

Entering the Triduum

It wasn’t until I left college that I was introduced to the wonder of Triduum, those three “Great Days”—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday—which the Church sets apart as one continuous liturgical moment.  And from then on, I was hooked.  Entering into Triduum, for me, means stepping into a special moment in time, one centered not around ordinary, chronological time (“chronos”), but rather, “the supreme moment” (“kairos,” in Greek), a time “in-between” during which something extraordinary happens.  Entering into Triduum means stepping into a special space, as well, one in which we live and breathe and pray differently as we experience – very much in the present – the Passion, Death and Rising of Jesus.

Maybe what is so very special about the Triduum is the sacramental dimension of this experience.  We go from “fasting” from morning Mass (there is no Mass on Holy Thursday morning unless the Chrism Mass is scheduled then) to the Mass of the Last Supper, where feet are washed and all receive Holy Eucharist, not simply re-enacting the events of over 2,000 years ago, but participating in them here and now, through living faith.  This is where the “Gloria” – from which we have also been “fasting” – rings out again, only to be silenced until Saturday evening.  At the Good Friday service, we immerse ourselves in prayer through the Stations of the Cross, waiting, waiting… and then we are transformed by the Passion of Jesus according to John, responding “Crucify him” on cue and thereby entering more fully into His suffering.  In the evening, we are invited to hear reflections on the Seven Last Words of Jesus, which deepens still further our appreciation of His Passion.  And then, more waiting, waiting at the tomb, this time in anticipation of that procession of Light into the Church, beginning in darkness after the sun sets on Holy Saturday, and increasing in intensity as we hear salvation history proclaimed in God’s Word.  Exsultet! -- we are told, -- Rejoice!  There is nothing else in the church year like it.

Father Peter Elliott has written that liturgy “transforms our time into a sacrament of eternity” (Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, 15).  The Triduum, centerpiece of our liturgical year, is perhaps the most powerful of those supreme moments when we have a glimpse of eternity.  We are all invited to enter, to share in this timeless journey of grace together.  We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Who is my Servant?

As you reflect further on the theme of the Suffering Servant featured in this week's readings, remember that you, too, are called to be Servant.  Consider the words of Rory Cooney's "Servant Song" as a call to discipleship for all, as reflected in the especially powerful refrain:

Who is my servant?
Where is she?
My light to the nations,
Where is he?
In prison and palace my gospel who told,
And living my gospel became.
This is my servant, whom I shall uphold:
His name is
Is her name.

Who answers to slander with silence,
And vengeance returns not for violence,
Who shouts in the darkness to people grown cold
A word that shall set them aflame:
This is my servant, whom I shall uphold.
His name is
Is her name.

Who sing of my love in their living,
Whose days are a prayer of thanksgiving,
Who seek not the glamor of glory and gold,
For I am their fortune and fame.
This is my servant, whom I shall uphold:
His name is
Is her name.

Who stand in the storm like a beacon,
With hope for the ravaged and weakened,
Whose presence is healing for young and for old,
To friend and to stranger the same:
This is my servant, whom I shall uphold.
His name is
Is her name.

Who, choosing a way I will show them,
Will trust that I care for my chosen,
Where is the spouse who is faithful to one,
And thus to the children proclaims:
This, my Beloved, my daughter, my son:
His name is Christ,
Christ is her name.