"Truly this man was the Son of God!" Mark15:39
"Truly this man was the Son of God!" Mark15:39
March 30, 2012 | Permalink
The mystery, and befuddlement, never end
WHEN I WAS in the seminary at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein there was an old proverb/joke that amused us students: “As useless as a Jesuit during Holy Week.” Okay, so it’s not exactly hilarious— probably because it takes a lot of explaining just to understand much less laugh. You see, Jesuit priests were the majority of our seminary professors who taught us philosophy, scripture, theology, etc. While qualified to teach, none of them, it seemed, had ever spent any time serving in a parish or other ministry that involved anything other than a blackboard and chalk. So, every year when Holy Week liturgies were celebrated in the seminary chapel, our Jesuit professors would either wander around the sanctuary looking totally befuddled, or they were nowhere to be found. “As useless as a Jesuit during Holy Week” came to describe anyone who looked hopelessly lost and utterly confused.
In fact, I think, those Jesuit professors and Jesus’ first followers may have had a lot in common. The patterns and traditions, the liturgies and prayers of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday become familiar if not routine to us over the years. Processions, reading of the Passion, lots of flowers and candles, lovely music, holy water, incense, and Easter eggs all feel right and comfortable every spring.
I doubt those feelings of comfortable familiarity were shared by the small group who followed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, sat with him at dinner on Holy Thursday, walked h to the Garden of Gethsemane later that night where he was arrested, denied him when he was on trial before Pilate the next morning, hid themselves away when he was crucified in the afternoon, or cowered in fear and despair the nights and days after he was buried.
Even on that early Sunday morning when a small group of women went to the tomb to arrange his corpse and were told by a man dressed in white that he lived, not one of them was giddy with joy or sang “Alleluia!” Instead they ran like heck in fear without even a glance over their shoulders, and, in Mark’s account, they didn’t dare say a word to anyone.
The Gospel of Mark is the first written record of Holy Week; the other three Gospels were written decades later. Yet in Mark the original story of Holy Week ends suddenly, abruptly at the empty tomb.
“So they [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” The End.
As the years passed by, first the other Gospel writers and then Christians of every century and country have struggled and prayed to understand, at least a little, what the events of those days of the first Holy Week really say, really and truly mean. The beauty and elegance of the liturgies this week should not lead us to think that finally, now, we have all those loose ends neatly tied and all the mystery neatly packaged and under control. The mystery of God in Christ is not answered. The story is not ended; the case is not closed. The next day of Holy Week is the Monday after the Resurrection when the mystery moves out from Jerusalem into the contemporary world, our world for us to struggle to recognize a little more clearly and understand a little better and live a little more fully.
So, please feel free to come to our Holy Week liturgies like a cranky old Jesuit; befuddled and confused. You’ll be in good company—just like those first followers of Jesus that first Holy Week.
APRIL 5, MASS AT 7PM, DINNER, AND ADORATION
Please join us for our special Holy Thursday Mass and dinner in the Church followed by a procession to the church for Adoration of the Eucharist. This year to help defray the cost of the lamb dinner, we are asking for a $5 donation. Please call the rectory to make your reservations at 773-506-2191.
TUESDAYS, 1 PM
When we help the poor we are truly followers of Jesus, servant of the poor. Consider serving the poor by joining Deacon Roland and others who visit and minister to the forgotten and lonely. Tuesdays at the Balmoral Nursing Home 2055 W. Balmoral.
Holy Week is the time when we are reminded of the great sacrifice Jesus made for our sakes. It is a time when Christians around the world gather in prayer and vigil: feeling moved, blessed, and grateful for all that we have been given, and all the more aware of what is required of us as followers of Christ.
Thank you for choosing to be part of the St. Matthias community during these holy days ahead.
During this time when so many of you provide such generous donations to sustain the great work of this parish, we ask you to please consider making your donation through GiveCentral.com. It is safe, secure, easy to sign up, and a great way for us and you to record and track contributions.
March 30, 2012 | Permalink
APRIL 4TH, 9:30AM
Ditch your schedule and come see our superstars in the making!
Summer vacation is just around the corner, which means the return of the always popular Lil Mustangs Summer Camp at St. Matthias. Programs are offered for three different age groups: from students entering PK3 through grade 5. Go to StMatthiasSchool.org for further details and registration forms. Register early to save!
The Spring Session of the 2-year-old enrichment program in Spanish begins. The class will meet four times, until May 15. Go to stmatthiasschool. org to register.
Please note: Preschool Readiness has already been filled and Music classes will not be held, as Mrs. Reckamp will be on maternity leave.
Schools out! Enjoy the sunshine and the blessings that Easter brings.
AS WE consider each critical character in this Passion play, we must not lose sight of Barabbas. It’s become a Holy Week practice to wonder what each of us might have done differently, given the chance. Am I Peter, am I Judas, am I the anonymous one who runs away? At bottom, though, we’re all really Barabbas: the sinner for whom the Just One’s life was traded away.
Invest just five minutes a day, and your faith will deepen and grow - a day at a time.
Look up the daily passages from the New American Bible online at www.usccb.org/nab/bible.
SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012
PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
It might be hard to see much joy in the stories around Jesus’ suffering and death, but what you are used to hearing with sadness may have some surprising notes of hope in them. Saint Peter’s betrayal of Jesus is an example. Not only does he fall asleep at Jesus’ hour of need and abandon Jesus at the cross, but his denials of Jesus to save his own skin rank very near Judas’ betrayal. Peter, however, feels immediate remorse for his sins. Repentance is always possible with Christ—something Peter did and that you and I can do today as the church enters the last days of its journey with Jesus to his cross and beyond.
“Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him . . . . He broke down and wept.”
MONDAY, APRIL 2
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Holy Week starts from humble beginnings
In this season of polarized political debate, “we’re right and you’re wrong” too often trumps “let’s find a way to work this out together.” Self-righteousness, often in the guise of political or religious correctness, seems to rule the airwaves and internet news sites. Nothing new there—Judas Iscariot was one of the originals of this type. While claiming to care about the poor, he was in fact ruled by greed, ambition, and jealousy. As you move through Holy Week, make sure you don’t end up betraying your faith by mistaking righteousness for holy humility.
“Then Judas . . . said, ‘Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?’ ”
TUESDAY, APRIL 3
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Give it up
Self-denial is the name of the game during Lent and Holy Week, yet it is so much easier to deny yourself certain kinds of food or limit your online activity than it is to check your own attitudes and beliefs. What would it be like if you gave up belittling words and harsh attitudes? What if you abstained from the guilty pleasure of a clever joke that is disparaging toward others? Taking up your cross doesn’t mean waving the flag of religion. It means having a long, hard look at yourself and allowing the Spirit to root out even the smallest seeds of discord, which can become full-blown weeds of bullying, judgmentalism, and other forms of violence if you are not careful.
“Will you lay down your life for me?”
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4
WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Let’s get a move on!
The church enters the “difficult days” of Holy Week, when it bears painful witness to the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus. These days invite you to take an honest look at your own faith. In what ways have you, like Judas, “betrayed” your best self by acting selfishly or thoughtlessly? Have you been dishonest in your dealings with loved ones, friends, or business associates? Have you been careless with your words, to the pain of another? Have you neglected your spirit and failed to make time for prayer and worship? There is still time to repent past wrongs and commit to a new life in the spirit. But the appointed hour draws near—let’s get moving in the right direction!
“One of you will betray me.”
THURSDAY, APRIL 5
HOLY THURSDAY; EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
Do this, too
What makes this night different from all others for Christians is the gift of the Lord’s Supper, the memorial of Christ’s abiding and true presence and the response to his instruction: Do this in memory of me. But there is another memorial here—the amazing image of Jesus as he strips himself down to the garments of a slave and bends and washes the well-traveled feet of those he loves. In some parish churches today it will be not only the priest who bathes the feet of a few, but you will also see parents washing the feet of their kids, kids washing their parents’, and those in love, spouses, and friends all responding to Jesus’ other “do this” command. It is likewise the sign of Christ’s presence.
“As I have done for you, you should also do.”
FRIDAY, APRIL 6
GOOD FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
Make some good connections
As a Christian, one of the most important things you can do for your faith-life is to find connections between your life story and the story, that of God entering creation through Jesus. Holy Week offers one such point of contact. The exuberance of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday matches your feelings when you are surrounded by friends and family and life is good. Then Good Friday comes and something dies: a relationship, a job, an illusion. You wander around in a dark place for a time. Fortunately, you know the story doesn’t end there. New life always proceeds from death. That’s why the church calls it “Good” Friday. Where does your life intersect with Jesus’ right now?
“Whom are you looking for?”
SATURDAY, APRIL 7
A short history of salvation
In a “Questions Catholics Ask” column on VocationNetwork.org, Alice Camille calls salvation “the one big idea in the Bible” and says salvation history “traces the pattern of events in human history that reveal God’s saving plan.” Want to hear a pretty good summary of those events in scripture? Then listen closely to the readings for tonight’s Easter Vigil celebration. Many of God’s interventions and humanity’s responses are there. Camille writes: “We’re saved from sin and death and for eternal life with God.” Tonight’s Vigil gets that message across. “All of human history is salvation history,” she says, “even the parts that never made it into the Bible.”
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 1:1-2:2 or 1, 26-31a; Genesis 22:1-18 or 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Isaiah 54:5-14; Isaiah 55:1-11; Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4; Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28; Romans 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-7 (41)
“Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
©2012 by TrueQuest Communications, L.L.C. PHONE: 800-942-2811; E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org; WEBSITE: www.takefiveforfaith.com. Licensed for noncommercial use. All rights reserved. Scripture quotes come from the New American Bible.
Contributors: Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O'Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.