VFTV: March 14, 2018
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
“O Lord, I will take my place around your altar, singing a song of thanksgiving and proclaiming all your wonders.” (Ps 26)
As our Lenten journey approaches its destination, we look forward to the wonderful liturgical celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. Monday of Holy Week is always special because of the celebration of the Chrism Mass. The Chrism Mass is celebrated at what is called a Stational Mass. A Stational Mass is “a preeminent manifestation of the local Church, present when the bishop as high priest of his flock, celebrates the Eucharist and particularly when he celebrates in the cathedral, surrounded by his college of presbyters and by his ministers, and with the full, active participation of all God’s holy people.” (Bishop’s Ceremonial) All are welcome to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, Mar. 26 at 6:30 p.m. for the 2018 Diocese of Crookston Chrism Mass.
If you have never had the joyful experience of joining in the Chrism Mass, I invite you to come this year. Join the representatives from your parish or institution who will come to receive the holy oils which I will bless and consecrate at this unique Mass. I will bless the Oil of the Sick and bless the Oil of Catechumens. I will consecrate the Sacred Chrism. These are the oils used in the sacraments Jesus gave us through which we experience God’s enduring love and saving help. The Chrism Mass is also special for our priests, cooperators with their bishop in the apostolic mission. This Mass is “one of the principal expressions of the fullness of the bishop’s priesthood and signifies the close unity of the priests with him.” (Bishop’s Ceremonial) At this Mass each year, our priests recommit themselves to the ministerial priesthood and we pray in a special way for our priests. In so many ways, the Chrism Mass radiates the beauty of who we are, thanks be to Jesus Christ our Savior and brother, and how wonderfully God loves and takes care of us, his children. Consider making the trip to join in this wonderful Mass as part of your Lenten journey.
I hope that you will be able to take part in the beautiful liturgies of the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper; Good Friday, the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord; Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil. In these liturgies we remember in a special way the culminating events of the Lord’s life on earth by which he conquered sin and death and brought salvation to the world. In these liturgies, we “listen with quiet hearts” and meditate on how God “in times past saved his people” and how in the fullness of time he sent his son “as our Redeemer”. We pray that “our God may complete this paschal work of redemption.” (Roman Missal, Instruction opening the Liturgy of the Word, Easter Vigil) We move from hearing Jesus’ words from the cross: “It is accomplished” to the joy of Easter Sunday and hearing our Risen Lord say: “Peace be with you.” Alleluia! The cross of God’s self-giving love in Jesus has become the cross of new life in water and the Holy Spirit. The pain of Good Friday gives way to the joy of Easter Sunday.
What remains, of course, is for each and every person to really receive the gift of salvation Jesus brings. Jesus is always looking for our response to his self-gift of love. He is always looking for our self-gift in return. This involves our turning away from our natural self-involvement and our idols of immediate gratification to live the life of love of God and one another as Jesus taught and lived. “I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.” (Jn 13:34) In our world, this kind of love will inevitably involve suffering. It is a dying to self and a rising to a new way of life. Indeed, in Baptism we have died with Christ and come to share divine life. However, it takes a life-time to grow in this new life. And so, Easter is “a calling forth of love to be enacted in our fallen world, where the choice to love is a suffering.”
Alleluia. He is risen! I pray that you have a truly joyous and blessed Easter. May you know the presence of the Risen Lord deep within your heart. May we all come to know – even more – the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, whose power enables us to live lives fully engaged in suffering love; that God’s work of redemption might move to completion until God is all in all.