The focus for us this April has to be the end of Lent, the celebration of Holy Week, the Triduum and Easter. The month begins with what we used to call “Passion Sunday”. Passiontide comprised of the last two weeks of Lent including Palm Sunday. For all of us, the Liturgy goes up a gear as the drama of the Lord’s last week is commemorated. It’s a week full of intrigue and plot, of triumph and betrayal, of bitter sadness and expectation. It should be for us all an exceptional week. After all, we are about to celebrate the central events of our faith. If these days had not come to pass together with the precious events, then our faith would be meaningless. At the beginning of the Palm Sunday gathering, the celebrant says:
Therefore, with all faith and devotion, let us commemorate the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation, following in his footsteps, so that, being made by his grace partakers of the cross, we may have a share also in his resurrection and his life.
Nothing about Holy Week and the Triduum should be normal, rather it should be normative. The rest of the Easter Season flows from it; the rest of the liturgical year takes its shape from it; indeed, the rest of our lives derive their meaning from it. Hence it is right that the timings of our celebrations should correspond to the events that we commemorate. We celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at evening time. We recall the Lord’s Death on Good Friday beginning at the ninth hour – 3pm. We begin the Solemn Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday after dark. Even if these times are inconvenient, we should be prepared to change and adapt. Jesus did not allow convenience to come between him and the ultimate sacrifice he paid for our salvation and for once, once only in the whole year, we should be willing to sacrifice our convenience to celebrate these precious events with awe and thanksgiving.
As I write this, I can’t help but mention the terrible event of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. I am sure that we are all praying and will continue to pray for peace, justice and reconciliation. I hope that by the time we read this, our prayers will have been answered. However, praying for peace, becoming peacemakers ourselves should be central to our lives as Christians. The first words our Risen Lord said to his apostles were, “Peace be with you.” May we all experience that same peace this Eastertide.
Christ is risen, alleluia! He is truly risen, alleluia, alleluia!
Yours in blessed hope,