Be With the Lord In Easter Season

Catholics celebrate over the next few days our high holy days, ones in which we see how the paschal mystery — the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ — redeems the cosmos. 

These days, which the Church calls Holy Week, began last Sunday with the celebration of a two-fold event, Palm/ Passion Sunday. That liturgy began in great triumph, cheering as Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem in glory. It was a moment of joy. However, days later, the entire mood shifts, changing to the sorrow of the crucifixion. It should be noted that this is the only time on all of the Sundays of the liturgical year when the story of the Passion is read. 

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (which is often called “Spy Wednesday”), the Gospels of the concrete plot by Judas to betray Jesus are read. The stage is set for that vast cosmic drama that is the paschal mystery. 

In the Diocese of Brooklyn, the early part of Holy Week offered the opportunity to participate in Reconciliation Monday, and on that Tuesday, Bishop Robert Brennan gathered his auxiliary bishops and priests, as well as deacons, religious, seminarians, and lay faithful for the celebration of the Chrism Mass, wherein the holy oils are blessed and distributed, and the priests of the diocese renew their ordination promises. 

Then, we begin our true high holy day, the most sacred Triduum. Holy Thursday brings the celebration of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the only Mass which is permitted to be celebrated in a parish community on that day. It is at this stunningly beautiful and symbolic Mass that we commemorate three essential aspects of the day in which the Lord Jesus is thanked for the gift of service, symbolized in the washing of the feet; the gift of the priesthood; and the gift of the Lord’s true body and blood, the most holy Eucharist. 

Good Friday brought us to the reality of a stripped church, one where the tabernacle is empty and the altar bare. The 3 p.m. Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion isn’t a Mass, for no Mass is celebrated on Good Friday. We enter into a tripart liturgy, one of the Word, wherein the passion of the Lord proclaimed according to the evangelist St. John is heard; one of the Cross, where the holy cross is venerated, which has been transformed into the tree of life, and finally one of the Eucharist, when the Body of Christ that was consecrated on Holy Thursday is reverently consumed. 

Holy Saturday is a day of quiet. It is a day when the “King slumbers” — when Christ, who has given his life for us, lies in the tomb. But soon, at nightfall, the Lord breaks the chain of sin and death, he harrows the halls of hell, and he conquers Satan forever. At the great nightwatch, the Easter Vigil of the Lord’s resurrection, Christ is celebrated, the light of the world, breaking the darkness of evil. 

The next morning, Easter Sunday, is a day so powerful that, liturgically, it cannot even fit into one day. 

It becomes an octave, eight days, culminating on Divine Mercy Sunday. And the power of Easter does not stop there! No, it is so powerful that it goes on for 50 days, ending the season with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! 

This Easter, come and see how the Church celebrates her high holy days. 

Allow yourself the opportunity to be with the Lord in the paschal mystery of his passion, death, and resurrection, as if for the first time, and come and experience his love and his mercy once again.