Dear Members of and Visitors to Holy Family Catholic Community,
As we enter the holiest of times in the Christian calendar, we are all called to reflect on the greatest gift that Christ gives us. That is Eternal Life. What does it mean to us? Have we truly realized the Love of God in these acts we restate yearly? Has it changed our lives or the way we live?
In the celebration that begins with the Mass on Passion (Palm) Sunday, we relive the tragic trial and death of our Savior. It is to remind us all that the coming week tells us of our need to be forgiven, because our sinfulness and waywardness. We begin the Sunday Mass waving Palms, praising Jesus and proclaiming “Hosanna to the Son of God”, but shortly after as we read the Sunday readings and proclaim the Passion, we also find ourselves shouting “Crucify Him.” It tells of our waywardness and how fickle we are when it comes to the reality with God and how we fail to understand His Love. It leads us into this Holy Week, prepared to be truly involved in this salvific event.
The greatest celebration during the week is the Easter “Triduum”. It is a three day long Celebration, that begins at the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper” on Holy Thursday evening, where we remember the gift of the Eucharist that Christ gives us as a lasting memorial of His presence, and of His death on the Cross for our Sins. It is here that He reminds us to put away our selfish thoughts and give as He has given (seen in the simple act of the “Washing of the feet” of the disciples). We are fed for that reason. After this celebration, the community does not end its prayer, but retires to prayer (at the Altar to Repose, normally till Midnight) to pray with the Lord, as Jesus had requested of His disciples prior to His Agony in the Garden the night before His death. How will you answer His call to prayer? Will you do better than the disciples? The Triduum continues at Good Friday Service, where once again the community gathers to proclaim the passion of the Lord, to venerate the Cross of Christ and share the Eucharist (that was retained at the Holy Thursday Mass and Honored at the Thursday Night Prayer). And this service does not end, but only continues at the Easter Vigil Service on Saturday Night. During this period we are called to reflect on what this world would be like if it all had ended here, at Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. We are called to ask ourselves “How has this resurrection changed us?”
The Church finally meets for the Resurrection Celebration at the Easter Vigil. The celebration begins in darkness, when the Blessed Pascal Candle and Blessed fire are brought into the dark church and lightens our darkness with the light of Christ. The “Exultet” is proclaimed which leads us on to understand more clearly the Old Testament Scriptures which speak of the commitment the God the Father has for His Children as seen throughout Jewish salvation history and when the New Testament is proclaimed (when the Church is fully lit) how that commitment of God the Father continues to this day, because of Jesus’ unselfish act of Love. Talk about Hope, Faith and Love! It is all seen in this celebration. It is here the Catholic Church Baptizes adults; the faithful recommit themselves to Christ and the faith and we once again are nurtured by Christ, as we do daily, with His body and blood.
May your Easter Season be filled and enriched by this Love of God and may your lives be changed and awakened to a greater awareness of God’s presence in your lives. Happy Easter!
Fr. John C. Giel, V.G.