For many years, I would listen to the reading to the Lord's Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday and wonder why Jesus didn't just say something. It was as if everything that could go wrong, did. One bad thing after another. But recently I've come to understand that it just wasn't a very bad day for Jesus; this was something He had to do and something He did willingly. For me.
Today was a beautiful day weather-wise. I went early this morning to work out. Hadn't been on my original plans, but a friend had said she'd be there at 9. So, I was there, and she wasn't. But the work-out didn't hurt. I took clothes with me, and changed into something presentable to attend an outdoor version of the Stations of the Cross at 10. There were several hundred people there. It was very mellow. We were given handouts as we walked up. A priest (in a black chasuble) led the stations. We prayed for those in purgatory and were urged to recall those in our families who had died and to join their death with that of Jesus. The wind was blowing and at times was quite loud above in the pine trees. The devotion took about 30 minutes and was very peaceful.
Our parish had a service at 3:00. There was no compelling reason for me NOT to go, so I went. No work today. No small children to care for.
I was struck by the barrenness when I walked in. The holy water fonts - gone (or dry). The altar decor - gone. The tabernacle - open and empty. No candles. No plants. Even the overhead lighting in the sanctuary was dim. Bare.
The entrance processional was done in silence. Father and the altar servers knelt at the edge of the sanctuary and we knelt with them. The readings were proclaimed and the Passion was read. :Father returned to his chair and gave the homily seated. He had three points: We don't have to be free from pain and sorrow to be triumphant. Our power comes from love. We don't have to have all the answers, but we do need to have faith and trust. We do need to be triumphant over sin and evil. We do need to be powerful, and that comes from love. And we do need to have wisdom, and that comes from trusting in the Lord and being faithful to Him.
We prayed for everyone in the entire world during the intercessions. The altar was prepared. The Eucharist that was consecrated last night was retrieved from the sacristy. Communion was distributed. We were blessed and dismissed.
And now I am home. Dear hubby, I think, has plans to show The Passion of the Christ tonight. I have never seen it, and I'm not sure I want to. He would have shown it to the kids years ago, but I voted against it. At 13 and 14, though, they are probably old enough to see it.
ASK FATHER: Irreverent priest at a funeral Mass.
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