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Friday, April 6, 2012

Reflections of Holy Thursday & Good Friday

Last night was Holy Thursday…one of my favorite days of the entire year and also one of the saddest. It remains a favorite of mine because of what Christ was doing and was about to do for love of mankind. I can’t help but think it must have been a moment of His life on earth that he most looked forward to and most dreaded. He knew soon his work on earth would be complete “It is finished” and he’d return to the Father in Heaven. That must have caused him great joy and happiness. Yet first he would have to suffer in all ways. He was to be humiliated, spat upon, mocked, ridiculed, betrayed, abandoned, whipped, beaten, tortured and nailed to wood suspended into the air for all to watch him slowly give up his life. The horror of that must have been overwhelming...but not more overwhelming than Christ's love for us.

It saddens me to see Holy Thursday parishes with empty seats. Christ went through ALL of that for love of us and some people can’t be bothered to even show up to reflect, celebrate and worship Him. How that must wound Him- again. Has he not suffered enough for us all already?

At the end of Holy Thursday mass Christ in the Eucharist is placed in the Repository (side altar). There the Eucharist is reposed “at rest” until the Easter Vigil. The altar is now stripped bare, during this time people are asked to remain completely silent in honor of Christ (don’t get me started on those who ignore this request), while we adore Him and pray. I love this time- perhaps it is my favorite time of the entire year within the Church as the silence after such a moving and emotional mass gives me great depth in reflection. I am an easily distracted person, so the silence is particularly helpful to me in my worship and prayer time.

Soon parish volunteers silently begin to finish the stripping of the altar until the lights dim and we are left with flickering candles around the Repository and people on their knees adoring, worshiping and praying to Christ. 'What a wonderful time to be Catholic!' my heart is singing as I kneel and thank Jesus for his tremendous suffering! To have Holy Thursday in the Catholic Church is truly an awe inspiring event to look forward to each year.

Reflections on Good Friday

I had never participated in a Way of the Cross walk until I became a Catholic. I could have, it’s certainly not limited to Catholics alone. As a matter of fact in my town we have an Ecumenical Way of the Cross walk at noon each Good Friday. The walk is open to our town and surrounding towns with several churches and Catholic parishes working together to make our way of the Cross starting from one church and ending at another, reading scriptures, praying and singing along the way. My two favorite songs for this are “Lord of the Dance “(which we begin with) and “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” which we end with.

These photos are from the noon Ecumenical Way of the Cross walk today in the town of Durham, Ct. The walk began at Notre Dame Catholic Parish, stopped in front of the United Churches of Durham and ended at The Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal) in Durham. Middlefield churches also participated in the walk.

But Good Friday is more than cross walking…it’s the day Christ gave up his life, becoming our sacrifice. He took up his cross for us…we must ask ourselves…are we taking up our own crosses for Him?
[ The Way of the Cross ] Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." [Mark 8:34]

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