Monday, March 29, 2010

Winning the 'Battle of the Calendars' during Holy Week

Dear Parish Faithful,

With the first of the Bridegroom Matins services yesterday evening, we began Holy Week. We had a fairly representative group of parishioners return for the service last night, and I encourage you to focus your attention this week on the liturgical life of the church as much as possible.

During Holy Week, it seems to me that in order to accomplish that we need to simply our lives to more-or-less its daily necessities: work/school, home and church. As I already wrote to our parents with younger children, it is hardly a week to pursue "entertainment" and/or other superfluous activities. We can choose to either connect our lives with the life of the Church; or disconnect our lives from the life of the Church. Which is the same as saying that that connection or disconnection is really about our relationship with Christ. Here the "battle of the calendars" may reach a certain intensity that tests the commitment to Christ we made just yesterday by accepting a palm branch in the church "in imitation" of the children of Israel when they hailed Jesus as Messiah and King.

A further suggestion I would make is to turn to the Holy Scriptures and choose one of the Gospel accounts of Holy Week as it is narrated there. In other words, choose one of the four Gospels, and begin reading from the Entrance into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), followed by the disputes between Christ and the religious authorities, and through the Passion, Death and burial of Christ. And then there is the chapter or chapters (as in St. John) that narrate the Resurrection. Along the way, you may want to try and see if you can actually discern the transition from day to day of Holy Week, that a careful reading of the text should yield. If you are "successful," then the day of the Cross should, of course, be Friday(!).

If you go to our parish website, you will find, on the home page, a link to a series of articles entitled: "Journey Through Holy Week with these special articles." This will assist you in following the events of Holy Week as they unfold with excellent explanations of each day by Fr. Thomas Hopko. There are other resources there that will deepen your understanding and hopefully your experience of Holy Week.

I believe that four slots on the Sign-up sheet for keeping Vigil at the tomb of Christ through reading have been filled. Obviously, that leaves many more open time slots. The sheet will be out and kept on the candle stand in the back of the church if you would like to sign up for such reading.

Also, four readers are needed for the Royal Hours of Great and Holy Friday. Those Hours are served at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and noon. Please contact me if you would like to read one of those Hours.

Our next service will be this evening, the Matins of Holy Tuesday (sung in anticipation) beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Fr. Steven

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