Thursday, April 18, 2019

You are Invited to Come and See!

If you have not been to a Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, now’s your chance!  

Earlier in the week I laid out what happens during Holy Week, but I did not include a very powerful ritual that we can witness during tonight’s Mass—the Washing of the Feet.

This is not something we do to get veryone cleaned up before Easter, at least not physically!  It is recalling what Jesus did to his disciples at the last supper.
So exactly what happens?

Well, several people (often 12 representing the apostles—men or women and sometimes children) are given the opportunity to come up before the congregation, where they slip off their sock and extend their foot to be washed by the priest over a basin of water.  This is typically pre-arranged, so if you come, don’t be afraid that you will be put on the spot.  And if it is not pre-arranged and you have the opportunity, take it!

Jesus, who is 100% God and 100% human, modeled for those who would follow him, the importance of service.  A priest’s essential role is one where the servant model of leadership is embraced.

By washing another’s feet, the virtue of humility is front and center, and any semblance of pride or position is erased.  Jesus, the Master, bent down and washed the feet of those who followed him.

This ritual cleansing sets the stage for the expected behavior of all disciples.  Our faith is not about us, or who we are, or our position, but it is about doing what we can for others. It is about loving others. There is simply no place in the kingdom for those who want to be extolled for their own self-aggrandizement and this action by Jesus makes that very clear.

As he is preparing to be sent to his death, he washes the feet of the disciples and shares his last supper with them.  This is what we do on this Holy Thursday evening as we prepare for what is to come tomorrow on Good Friday—his death on the cross.

On Good Friday, a large wooden cross/crucifix is displayed for us to touch (or kiss) for veneration.  Good Friday, like Holy Thursday, is a very moving opportunity for us to participate and enter into the Passion of Jesus as we hear scripture proclaimed recalling what he went through.  It is a very solemn day where most unessential activity is set aside.

For some reason, it can be easy to overlook Holy Thursday and Good Friday with our sites set on Easter, but they are not to be missed.  Every year, those who are entering the Church in the sacraments at the Easter Vigil are encouraged to set aside this time.  They spend a lot of hours both in church, and in private, preparing for reception of the sacraments.

If you are Catholic and have not attended Holy Thursday or Good Friday, I highly recommend you come and see what is happening.  If you are not Catholic, there is much for you as well.  These rituals speak volumes, and an open heart and mind paves the way for God to reach us.

There is a lot more that I haven’t described here today, but for now, I would say, just come and see for yourself!  As always, bring a friend or family member, too!  

Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to be extended.

So, consider yourself invited as well!

Janet Cassidy

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Lord Help Us!

An incredibly ignorant report came out about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral  by USA Today.  Now, maybe you can't fault a foreign affairs reporter for his lack of awareness about Catholicism, but isn't there SOMEONE at USA Today that knows better?

Here's what he reported:

"Religious artifacts Fournier and other firefighters helped save, according to accounts of witnesses confirmed by his employer and the city’s mayor’s office, were the Blessed Sacrament (used during church services to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ) and the Crown of Thorns (purportedly worn, Catholics believe, by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion)" (USA Today)

Okay, they get a thumbs up for using the words "Blessed Sacrament" but then they completely went off the rails with the word "represent."

With that reporting, they completely, inaccurately, identified the Body of Christ as a mere representation of Christ. 

Let's be clear:

It isn't something we use.

It isn't a representation.

It IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

Lord help us as we go through Holy Week not to diminish what you have done for us on the cross and the gift you gave us of yourself at the Last Supper.  Help us to remember that at every Mass the bread and wine are completely transformed into the substance of your body and blood.


Janet Cassidy,

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Glowing Ember

Are you looking for a little inspiration this week as we prepare for the upcoming Triduum ("three days") leading up to Easter?

How will you shine your light for all the world to see?

I put together a short podcast special for Holy Week that I hope you will like.

You can find it here.