There’s something different about this year’s Triduum. Early in the morning before the sun comes up this Saturday, March 31, 2018, if you look up in the still-dark sky, you will see what I call the “Easter-is-coming-soon-moon”–the first full moon after the spring equinox. This is the moon that each year determines the date of Easter Sunday, which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. This year, this full moon will not only take place almost at the very last moment possible before Easter Sunday, but it will also be a “blue moon,” the second full moon in a month. It’s almost as if God is trying to cram as much blessing into this Triduum as possible!
One thing I love about being Catholic is that our liturgies are always a collaborative work of God, our own efforts, and of creation itself. The way we mark time is guided not just by our human-made inventions of calendars and clocks, but also by the passing of seasons and the movement of the cosmos. In wonderful Catholic fashion, our time is both/and: solar and lunar, constant and moveable, made by human hands and God-given.
Because of this relationship, the call to worship cannot be simply an appointment we check off on our “to do” list. It’s more than that. It’s our response to God who created time by separating the light from the darkness and placing lights in the dome of the sky. To worship God is to submit our control of time and all we have and all we have done to the One to whom all time belongs. To worship is to give ourselves fully to God. For every act of worship is always our response to God’s first act of love for us.
When the sun sets tonight on Holy Thursday, we will again respond to God’s call. Within this Triduum is the ultimate experience of “God’s time,” kairos time, pregnant with blessings, the perfect moment to encounter the fullness of time in the Risen Christ. Let us then use God’s gift of time to enter into these Three Days to receive God’s abundant mercy in our time of need. Then let us go out into the world to share the simple gift of our time with all those who are forgotten, alone, and in need of the beauty and blessing of God.
To you who are in charge of the RCIA and all the details of these holiest of days, to you who assist with the liturgies, preparing the music, putting up the environment, getting the Elect and their godparents ready, crafting your homilies, printing up scripts and worship aids, rehearsing your readings, putting projection slides in order, preparing for visitors, sewing baptismal gowns, cleaning the vestibule, finding substitute ministers for last minute no-shows, setting up mics, preparing the fire, finding the water basins, washing the towels, worrying about that tickle in your throat, wondering when you’ll be able to take a rest…
To you who have been at your church these last few weeks and for the next three days for many more hours than you are being paid or acknowledged for…
To you who strive not just this Triduum but every Sunday for excellence not for your own praise but for the glory of God and the sanctification of God’s people…
To each of you who love this week and this ministry we share more than anything…
The Church could not pray this week as well as it could without you.
Our prayer for you as we enter into the Triduum is that you will let everything go and just be present. You have done well. Now it is God’s turn to surprise you and comfort you and delight you. Be present. Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to see the Risen Christ all around you.
As we prepare to gather around the Church’s family table, we pray this prayer for you and with you.
Diana and Nick
Prayer Before Preparing a Family Feast
Lord, you know all the things that still need to be done-
the cooking and cleaning,
the preparation and anticipation,
the anxiety and worry that everything will be just right.
As I prepare this meal, help me also to prepare myself
that I may not be distracted by all these concerns.
And when you enter this home and sit at this table,
may I sit beside you and remember that
only one thing is needed:
to love you with all my heart, with all my being,
with all my strength, and with all my mind,
and to love my neighbor as myself.
from The Work of Your Hands, by Diana Macalintal
image: Moon over Aaqrabâte, Syria, by Samer Daboul, unsplash, CC0