A very informative article of what our Bishops are doing in Rome. Please keep Bishop Silva, Father Gary Secor, and all the other California Bishops and Priests in Rome now.
Here we are, Easter Thursday, the fourth day in the Easter Octave. Yes! the Easter Sunday is so big for our Church that we need eight days of Easter. This Easter was a time of triumph, a time of joy, and a great time of Easter nostalgia. For me, it was a time of great emotion as I participated and served at the various Triduum Masses. Many people say that Christmas is a time of nostalgia and sentiment and true it is. Call me the hopeless sentimental, but this Easter was even more a time of sentiment and nostalgia.
I spent my Easter break serving at Saint Anne’s Church in San Francisco with my friend and confer JR Jaldon. Sometime during the week, while having our “Starbucks” moments and walking around the city, JR asked me a question. He asked me “EJ, what’s your favorite day of the Triduum?” I had to think about that for a little. Everyday from Thursday to Sunday has a very special moment for me. While all of the liturgies have their beauty, I shared, my favorite moment of the Triduum is the “Gloria” of The Great Easter Vigil. The lights of the Church are turned on, candles are lit, and the bells ring. It sends shivers done my spine! Death has been conquered and I have been redeemed by the passion of the Cross and the Risen Christ.
Over the last few days, for whatever reasons, I have been thinking of my Easter’s past. As a child I remember being so excited when asked to Serve at the Masses. I remembered my late Grandmother Dorothy Texeira and how she would forbid us to do anything on Good Friday. “No T.V., No Radio, No Work, No go out! Sacrifice, Jesus is on the cross!” is what I remember her saying. In many ways, that has been instilled in me on Good Friday. To make sacrifice even if it is turning off the t.v. for a few hours. Then I remembered waking up early on Easter Sunday to attend the 6:00 a.m. Mass at Hanamaulu Beach where hundreds of people would gather to welcome the “rising son.”
However, this Easter, while I still felt that joy during the “Gloria” at the Vigil, it was at the 10:30 a.m. Family Mass which came to be a reality for me in my discernment. After a wonderful celebration all were invited for fellowship and the Children did their egg hunts with the Easter bunny. It was wonderful! Then the families began to leave together for their Easter celebrations. It donned on me the reality of my call to the Priesthood. I had no one to go home with. This was an amazing moment, because I grieved the fact and accepted that I will never have my own family, a wife, and kids. It’s a struggle but then I realized, that in this moment of loneliness I was not alone. The risen Jesus was with me to help me with this struggle and I have my fellow confers too. Yes, there are sacrifices and struggles, but I joy that I experience serving my King and His people trumps it. Truly another grace filled moment in my journey to the priesthood. Easter night, JR and I treated ourselves to a steak dinner in celebration and relaxation. We both agreed, that this is what the priesthood is about, Prayer, Service, Friendship and Joy. Happy Easter to you. Pray for your Priests and pray for vocations!
A special shout out to JR Jaldon and the beautiful people of Saint Anne’s Parish. God Bless You all in the Risen Christ. He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!
From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday. Couldn’t say it better…
|The Lord’s descent into the underworld|
One of the seven last words spoken by Christ on the Cross was “It is finished,” and yes it was. Through Christ’s death on the Cross, he finished what he came down to earth to do, to ransom us sinners and to give us life through His death. However, Jesus also says “…Today, you will be with me in paradise.” So, while his earthly life may have been finished, his eternal life was not.
This is the same for us and what Jesus wants of us. God gives all of us a reason to be here on earth, and while temporary, we must remember that life does not “finish,” rather, we go beyond the scandal on the Cross of Christ and our own crosses to return once more to our maker in the paradise He has promised us.
…And now, we keep vigil at the tomb of the Christ buried and await our new life. Another chance of it here on earth, to get a foretaste of what is to come.
This morning, at the celebration of Lauds for Holy Thursday, the pastor here at Saint Anne’s in San Francisco shared in his reflection of the three gifts of Holy Thursday. These three gifts are: The Priesthood, The Eucharist, and The Great Commandment of “Love.” All of these gifts are given to us tonight as we commemorate the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. At tonight’s Mass we will see these three gifts unfold in very symbolic ways all interweaving in one another.
Tonight, the Lord Jesus eats with his disciples the annual passover meal. This symbolizes the Jews freedom from slavery and bondage and brought into the “promised land” by Moses. Jesus becomes the sacrificial Lamb tonight to free us from our own slavery and bondage with the blood of the Cross. Tonight Jesus gives himself to us through his Body and Blood in the form of Bread and Wine. The ultimate sacrifice, the commandment of Love to give oneself freely out of love for another.
Then as the master, Jesus becomes the servant by washing the feet of his beloved disciples. This is the gift of the priesthood. Where a man comes “to serve and not to be served.” Jesus the priest sets the example for Priests and all people to be servants to one another. The gift of the priesthood is, yes, becoming a servant, but by the power of the Holy Spirit at ordination, a man become “in persona Christi,” in the person of Christ. He becomes Christ and does as Jesus does. The priest gives us each day Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This is the commandment of love, the ultimate sacrifice, becoming a servant to another.
Jesus then tells us, “to love one another, as He loved us.” How are we to fulfill this commandment? We do this by becoming like Christ and imitating him. We become servants by washing each other’s feet and continue the mission which Jesus gives us in the Eucharist. At the end of tonight’s Mass, the Eucharist will be reposed to a side altar for adoration and prayer. Spend some time with Jesus. Pray to become a servant. Pray to become the gift of love. And, pray for your Priests that they too may be like Christ, the servant, the priest. Happy Holy Thursday!
Found this video that sums up the why and what Catholics celebrate this week. Wising you a Happy, Holy, Blessed, and Fruitful Holy Week. God Bless!