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Browsing Pastor's Notes

03/20/24 - Entering into Holy Week

From the PastorDear Friends in Christ:

I have vivid memories of me as a young boy standing on the kneeler of our pew watching my two older brothers serve Mass on Holy Thursday. On one level, I did not know what was happening because I was so young. On another level, somewhere deep in my soul, I understood it perhaps even better than I do now. Something completely awesome was taking place before my eyes. As I stood on that kneeler watching them begin the Eucharistic Procession that concludes the Mass on Holy Thursday, my mother leaned in and whispered in my ear, “They are taking Jesus away.” They were bringing the Eucharist to the Chapel of Reservation, but I also understood that they were going with Jesus to the Garden. I understood that we were leaving the Upper Room and that tomorrow–Good Friday–we would stand on Golgotha.

When my Mom whispered those words to me, “They are taking Jesus away,” I could have burst into tears. In part because I felt this deep sorrow, but mostly because I was, for the first time in my life, feeling the reality of what it means to be Catholic. I was not merely watching a drama about Jesus. In the Sacred Liturgy, I was being taken up into THE DRAMA of eternity. I was participating in the actual events that had taken place two thousand years ago in Jerusalem. Jesus was not some far away character that one reads about in a book. He was present here and now. The millenia, the mountains, and the oceans that separated me from the time and place of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection disappeared. In the Sacred Liturgy, we meet Christ here and now. We encounter Him here and now. He touches us here and now.

When we participate in the Sacraments, we are immersed into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. When we, for example, confess our sins and receive absolution, the priest begins the prayer of absolution by saying, “God the Father of Mercies, through the Death and Resurrection of His Son . . . .” In other words, in that moment, we are being absolved through our contact with the power of Jesus’s Death and Resurrection. Or, when we participate in the Mass, the Sacrifice that is being offered on the Altar is the Sacrifice that Jesus offered on the Cross. When the priest at Mass consecrates the Body first and then the Blood, it is a sacramental representation of Jesus’ Blood being separated from His Body on the Cross. In every Mass, the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present here and now. Thus, in every Mass, we participate in THE EVENT that saves us.

Friends, as we now enter into this holiest of weeks, I invite and encourage you to live this week close to Jesus. I invite and encourage you to attend as much of the Sacred Triduum as possible: The Mass of Holy Thursday (7pm), the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday (3pm and 7pm), and the Solemn Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday at 7:30pm). These are the most sacred days of the Church’s Year and the most magnificent of all the Church’s Liturgies. Give yourself a great gift this week. Attend the Sacred Triduum.

As we enter into this Holy Week, I am filled with wonder, awe, and I am grateful to stand with you in the Upper Room, on Golgotha, and in the empty tomb. I am filled with child-like wonder to once again–with all of you–to be taken up into the eternal mysteries of our Redemption. A Blessed Holy Week to all of you.

Your Brother in Christ,

Fr. David Barnes