Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lent and Easter

No doctrinal explanations today, just some reflections on celebrating Lent and now the Easter season.

Holy Week services and masses have touched my heart each year, and this year was no exception. Contemplating Jesus preparing for his death, his prayer to God in Gethsemane, and washing the feet of his disciples are humbling reminders to us on Maundy Thursday. The service I attended ended with the Taize song, "Stay With Me", which simply says, "Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray," referring to Jesus imploring his disciples in the garden.

Good Friday is very solemn, with no music at the beginning or end of the service. Many times, decorations around the altar are taken away to further emphasize this solemnity. The Passion is read with all participating, each with a part when their time comes. Having to be the crowds that say, "Crucify him!" is a sobering reminder that everyone, each and every one of us, took part in Jesus' crucifixion because of our sin.

Then Easter comes and there is much celebrating and rejoicing. Parts of the Mass that have been omitted return (primarily the Gloria), and hope is renewed. New converts are received by the Church, and songs chosen are filled with an air of rejoicing. A wonderful thing I love about Catholicism is that Easter does not end with Easter; it continues for the next five or six weeks until Pentecost, when Jesus ascends and leaves us to continue his work. Let the celebration continue!