Monday, March 29, 2010

Holy Week and the Holy Cross

Palm Sunday has shown us the Passion of Our Lord according to St. Matthew. On Monday, St. John 12:1-9 is the Gospel. On Tuesday, we hear the Passion according to St. Mark. Wednesday presents the Passion according to St. Luke.

Holy Thursday begins with the Chrism Mass, wherein the Oils to be used during the coming year are blessed and consecrated. The evening Mass in Cena Domini celebrates the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. At this Mass, during the Gloria in Excelsis, bells are rung. They will not be heard again until they are rung again during the Gloria in Excelsis in the first Mass of Easter.

It is also customary that the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and after the Good Friday services, the benediction is not given. The Church has always considered the Triduum to be one, uninterrupted Service culminating in the Mass of Easter.

The Paschal Privilege now applies during the Octave of Easter. It has been the custom of the Church that, during the Easter Octave, all remain standing during the prayers and the Consecration in honor of the Resurrection.

May the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten your hearts during this most Holy Week, and may our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ grant you the fullness of the blessings of His Resurrection, that you are comforted by and assured of the saving merits of His Sacrifice which has assured your eternal salvation.

Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world. O come, let us adore Him.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Judica - the First Sunday of the Passion

As if Lent did not already put a damper on the Liturgy by eliminating the Alleluia and the Gloria in Excelsis, the Gloria Patri is now silenced. Crosses and icons are now veiled, candles of unbleached wax replace the usual candles, and processional crosses and candlesticks might also be replaced with wooden ones. The sobriety of Lent becomes even more pronounced. Even so, on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of (to) the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated by including the Gloria in Excelsis. The Alleluia, however, is replaced by the Tract. The Preface that has stated that, until now, we were to prepare our hearts to celebrate the Paschal Feast, now focuses on the comparison

If my memory is correct, I believe that the Catholic Church, Novus Ordo (VC II), considers Passiontide to begin on Palm Sunday. (If this is incorrect, please let me know.)

The sobriety that predominates during these two weeks is reinforced by the change in the Proper Preface which has stated that we were to prepare our hearts for the Paschal Feast, now focuses on the fact the he who, by a tree once overcame, would now be by a tree overcome.

After Palm Sunday, the Second Sunday of the Passion, the liturgy takes us through the Passion of Our Lord on Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Holy Thursday, we revisit the action in Cena Domini which had Our Lord washing His disciples feet and instituting the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood, given and shed for us for us for the remission of our sins.

Following the Mass on Holy Thursday, the altars are stripped, to remain unadorned in mourning for the death of Our Lord.

As we wait to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord, may we follow His journey during the coming weeks, so that we may rejoice in the fullness of the Liturgy in celebration of His Resurrection.