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.


Christopher Gillespie said...

What is the history of the passion reading on Palmarum?

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

During Holy Week, it has been the custom of the Western Rite to recall the Passion of Our Lord according to the four Evangelists on the four days before Maundy Thursday. On Palm Sunday the reading of the Passion according to St. Matthew may be omitted in favor of reading the Gospel (Matthew 27:45-52). This is the short version, if you will.

As for your question "What is the history....", I would say Tradition! A simple answer, I admit; but I may missing the point of this question. I would say that the purpose of reading the Passion from the viewpoint of the four Evangelists during these four days is to sharpen our focus on the events which will take place on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

The promise first declared in Eden, and which was proclaimed by the Prophets, is about to be fulfilled. The Atoning Sacrifice is about to be offered. The Lamb goes uncomplaining forth to fulfill the will of His Father. What better prelude to this sacrifice could there be than the retelling of the Passion from the viewpoint of the Evangelists?

Christopher Gillespie said...

You understood correctly. Were the TLH lections then an aberration from the historic practice? I grew up with the Palmarum only readings and I've heard complaints (not at Bethany) when LSB came to town and had the Passion reading (of course, reflecting the current cycle of the three year). They said, "we never used to do that! That's for Good Friday." Silly, I know.