Archives for March 2008

CHRISTOS ANESTE!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb, bestowing Life! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

– Byzantine Kontakion for Easter

Christ is risen! Al-Masih qam! Ha-Mashiach qam! Khristos voskrese! Christus resurrexit! Christus ist auferstanden! Christos aneste!

Easter Sunday: a reflection

“Resurrection” by Piero della Francesca

(Resurrection by Piero della Francesca)

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And this will be the last of my Holy Week/Easter reflections, so for those of you who may have been annoyed by them, that’s one more reason to rejoice!

At the Easter Vigil last night I thought back over the accounts of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his passion and his resurrection. I thought about the different people I identified with: the crowds whose shouts of “hosanna” soon turn to cries of “crucify him”, the spineless Pilate who has an innocent man beaten and crucified out of fear of those above and below him, the despairing traitor Judas, the repentant denier Peter, the awed solider who proclaims “surely, this was the Son of God, the hopeless disciples hiding behind locked doors while the Lord is in the tomb and the joyful women who hear the angel say “he is not here for his is risen.”

Placing myself in those scenes, I identify with all of the above. I realized, however, that it’s not any of those people that the Scriptures invite us to walk the road of Holy Week with. We, by grace, are invited to walk this path with Christ himself.

Those of us who are Christians know, as Christ did, that when he enters Jerusalem he is headed for a cross not an earthly throne. With Christ we know which diners at the table in the upper room will deny and betray him. We know the contents of the cup he is about to drink as he enters the garden to pray. We know that he will not receive justice from his own people or from Pilate. We know as he cries “it is finished” that this is not the end. We know what those who come to the tomb on Easter morning will find.

This is what it means to be a Christan: to be made an heir with Christ and to be adopted as sons and daughters of God receiving by grace what Christ has by nature. The first Adam fell into a grave and took us with him, but the second Adam descended into that grave and rose again, bringing us out.

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all contributors and readers. May God richly bless all of you during this Eastertide.

Christ is Risen!!

Holy Thursday

The Easter Triduum begins tonight with the Masses for Holy Thursday, commemorating the institution of the Eucharist and the sacrament of ordination. This is when Jesus gave us the new mandate to love one another as Christ loved us. The name Maundy Thursday, sometimes used for this holiday, is named as such from the Latin mandatum, for “mandate.”

One of my favorite parts of the Holy Thursday Mass is the excellent hymns. Below is a version of the Pange Lingua, a hymn composed by St. Thomas Aquinas. It is traditionally sung during the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday. The last two verses are also known as Tantum Ergo. I have posted the Latin and English versions of the hymn below, and some music.

Latin:
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Palm Sunday of our Lord’s Passion: a reflection

Behold the Man

As much as I love hearing the Gospel readings proclaimed in the liturgy, sometimes they are hard to hear. Usually this is because something Our Lord says cuts to the heart of my own self-righteousness and pride. The Passion narrative read today, however, is the hardest reading for me all year. And not just because of what I hear, but for what I and the rest of the congregation say:

“He deserves to die!”

“Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?”

“Let him be crucified!”

And as I say these things, I’m wishing that this was the only time I said them…wishing I hadn’t said them with my life and sins many times over.

But, miracles of miracles, after this I am given the grace to stand and confess my faith in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the Church, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection. I am invited to call God Father and pray as Jesus taught us. Christ, the betrayed, abused and crucified Lord, does not turn me away, but gives me his peace. He gives Himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and dwells with one who is not worthy to receive him.

These gifts make the Passion narrative bearable in the same way Easter Sunday makes Good Friday good.

“Truly, this was the Son of God!”