I don’t even know how to begin this article. During this turbulent and unknown time, it is hitting every aspect of life in some way. While I feel incredibly honored to be able to assist in bringing the Mass to all of you through Live streaming on Facebook, it’s also incredibly sad to be doing that. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the latest instructions on the celebration of the Easter Triduum from the Archbishop. I support and understand the new directives, but it’s just hard to envision it and to realize what we are missing out on this year. I live in the hope that someday soon
Marvels of Mass
This 4th Sunday of Lent is known as Laetare Sunday. The entrance antiphon for this Sunday in Latin is “Laetare Jerusalem” or “Rejoice, Jerusalem”. We are halfway through Lent now, and the Church gives us this Sunday to add in a little ‘rejoicing’. The pre-siders have the option of wearing rose-colored vestments, which just like during Advent, is seen as a mixture of the regular Lenten purple and the upcoming white of Easter. We can add in some greenery or flowers to the sanctuary.
This weekend at the 9AM Mass on Sunday, we celebrate the First Scrutiny with the elect. Who are the elect? These are the people who are preparing to enter our community at the Easter Vigil. Some have been baptized already and are the Candidates; those who are not baptized are the Catechumens. After the Rite of Election during the first week of Lent, they are all now called the elect (technically, the catechumens are just ‘the elect’; the candidates remain as ‘candidates’ – but for our sake, we refer to all of them as ‘the elect’).
In today’s Gospel, we hear of Christ’s Transfiguration on the mountaintop.
You may have noticed some changes today, or on Ash Wednesday when you came to Mass. The environment is definitely different. All of the gold that can be removed has been; all the greenery is gone. We have gone back to using a simple wooden cross and wooden candle sticks. Taking it all down a notch. Just getting simpler and down to the basics. We’re using a different form of the penitential rite that recalls very directly our sinfulness and our need for mercy. So why do we have all these changes?
We open our Masses this weekend singing that word ‘Alleluia’ which won’t be heard after today until the Easter Vigil. Sing it out with all your voice, heart and soul!
We are given our call to Sainthood today in the Gospel: “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Enough said? Maybe we need some help in doing that!? We are also told: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” OK. Big orders there.
We only have one more Sunday in Ordinary time before Lent is upon us (Ash Wednesday is February 26).
We hear a lot about rules, laws, and commandments this weekend, and what is in store for us if we keep them or disobey them. We
have many great one-liners to reflect upon this week.
From the first reading: “to none does he give license to sin” (Sirach 15:20)
From the psalm: “Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart” (Ps. 119:34)
We’re back to Ordinary time this weekend after last Sunday’s Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. We continue reading from Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus is publicly ministering. We hear about the salt of the earth – what good is salt that loses its taste? None. We also hear about being the light of the world, not to be put under a bushel basket (who knows what a ‘bushel basket’ is anymore?
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which takes precedence over the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This feast is celebrated 40 days after the birth of Christ. In Judaism, a mother is considered ‘unclean’ for 7 days after childbirth, and then for thirty-three days if she had a son, she is in the ‘state of blood purification’. It’s 66 days following the birth of a daughter. During this time, a woman in the Jewish faith may not enter a holy place or touch anything holy.
Here we are in Ordinary Time and we find Jesus beginning His public ministry with the calling of the apostles in the Gospel. The Entrance Antiphon for the Mass this weekend is: O sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. In his presence are majesty and splendor, strength and honor in his holy place. (cf Psalm 96) We begin our Mass singing “He is the Lord” which is a reflection of this psalm: “Sing to the Lord with shouts of joy, let all creation rejoice! Come join the song of praise to our God! He is the Lord! He is the Lord!” (D. Haas)