THE COSMIC LAUGH

Even the greatest human mind can’t grasp the resurrection, for it defies understanding. Christians know when where and why it happened but they don’t know how. They simply know that it did. It’s the central tenet of Christian faith and the most important event in world history. But for a world that relies on DNA, on witnesses, CCTV and physical evidence the resurrection doesn’t add up. After all, dead bodies don’t just get up and walk away.
Easter Sunday is God’s day of cosmic laughter.
The power of evil could not contain Christ. Death had no hold over him. All that afflicts humanity, all that makes our days heavy was swept away as the stone was rolled from the tomb. God laughed in the face of the puny attempts to reduce the dignity of human existence. The forces of darkness were dispersed by the glorious brilliance of resurrection light.
Resurrection is about the grandeur of God, about a new dawn scattering all that seeks to drag us down. It’s a jubilant reminder that God rules over creation and is capable of turning our ideas about reality on their heads. For microscopes cannot manage mystery and physics flounders in the face of faith. When Jesus rose from the dead he proved that there is more to life than meets the eye. And only eyes of faith can enjoy the vision that is resurrection.
The events of Easter Sunday reveal that we are designed and destined for more than physical existence. Out of despair comes hope; from weakness arises strength; pain becomes peace and sorrow changes to joy. From death there springs new life, a risen life promising that nothing can possibly keep us from that deep quality, that eternal life which Jesus offers us by shattering the doors of the tomb.
Today we join in God’s laughter. We laugh with the Father who tames our darkest fears, reconciles us and lets his glory been seen. We laugh with the Son who by rising from the dead takes on our weakness and turns it into strength. We laugh with the Spirit who goes before us as our hope and inspiration.
And “Alleluia” is our song!

Happy Easter – and thank you….

….to all those who have enabled us to celebrate Holy Week and the Triduum so worthily. So much is done by so many people especially behind the scenes, so at the risk of missing out someone…(and in no particular order)…
…sacristans, altar servers, musicians, ministers of Communion, readers, flower buyers/arrangers, Easter garden builders, cross carriers, Paschal Fire Makers, Paschal candle artist, those who volunteered to have their feet washed….
And last, but by no means least, everyone who does so many different jobs in the church over the year.
At the time of writing we have celebrated two service of the Triduum. A special thanks to those who accompanied me in the rain from St Patrick to OLMC in our procession to the Altar of Repose in OLMC after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in St Patrick’s church.

The 50 Day Feast

Our 40 day fast of Lent has come to an end, our 3 day Feast of the Easter Triduum led us, in the darkness of Holy Saturday night, into the 50 day Feast of Easter when we continue to celebrate the mystery of the Resurrection.

SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT

There’s a lot of shouting going on this week.
It starts with the cheering crowd as Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday night sees accusations and insults being flung around as Jesus is seized by the Roman authorities; and there’s more to come on Friday as he is jeered through the streets carrying his cross.

Holy Week is partly about remembering those events. But only partly. Yes, we carry palms, wash people’s feet, venerate the cross and light fires. But these things are only outward signs of what the Church is calling us to do inwardly. Our Easter liturgy doesn’t simply remember the past. If we enter into its spirit then we make the effect of those past events present today in our lives.

As we wave our palms (what a shame if someone has already folded them in the shape of a cross for us!) we recognise Jesus as Messiah just as the crowd did on that day long ago. But we also recognise our own fickleness. We acknowledge that we are capable of strong assertions of faith one moment and complete disregard the next minute.

When we wash people’s feet we re-enact what Jesus did at the Last Supper. But we do it to profess our belief in our call to serve others. It is a symbol of the Christian’s call to be of service to all our brothers and sisters in their needs. If we sit and watch but have no intention of increasing our desire to serve, then we are not taking part in the liturgy. We are simply present in church.

Venerating the wood of the cross is an act of devotion that we make as sinners. Yet it is also an opportunity for us to recognise our total dependence on Jesus whose death is the reason that today we can have life to the full. By dying on Calvary Jesus has tamed death, has overcome the worst evil that may befall us and has offered us the chance of eternal happiness. That’s what we remember as we approach the cross.

The Easter fire burns in the darkness (provided we haven’t started too early!) as a sign that our lives are not clogged by obscurity, that we can live life in the light. Christ rose from the dead to offer us a risen life that transcends mere human existence. Our renewal of baptismal promises ratifies our commitment to this new life. Yes, there’s a lot going on.
The challenge is to take part in it all inwardly and not let our conversation with God be drowned out by all the shouting.

The Easter Triduum – Services

The Services of the Easter Triduum:

Maundy Thursday:

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper     St Patrick   – 7pm

At the end of the Mass those who are able are invited to process with the Blessed Sacrament up Park Road where there will be Watching at the Altar of Repose at OLMC church. This will continue until 9.00pm and will end with a simple night prayer.

Good Friday:

Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion

Our Lady of Mount Carmel – 3pm

Mass has never been celebrated on Good Friday. The service includes the reading of the Passion according to St John, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

Holy Saturday:

Easter Vigil

Our Lady of Mount Carmel— 9pm

The blessing of the Paschal Fire and the Lighting of the Paschal Candle, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of Baptism are all incorporated into this first Mass of Easter.

Hosanna!

The Palm Sunday liturgy is full of contrasts: from the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to the scene of his crucifixion; from the Hosanna’s shouted in his honour to the cry of Crucify him from the crowds.

The liturgy attempts to reflect this: a procession with palms and the gospel telling us of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem flows into readings telling us of a suffering servant of God and the account of Jesus’ passion.

And so Holy Week’s dramatic start points the way to… the Easter Triduum!

 

THREE SIDES OF A COIN?

Which character do you identify with in today’s Lenten gospel story? Are you perhaps the woman? There’s a bit of her in each of us. None of us is perfect and we’re all far from being what we should. So she didn’t protest or try to assert her innocence. There was no point. She’d been caught in the act of adultery. She was a sinner and she knew it, just like we know it. There’s at least some nobility … read more