LITURGY for the PASCHAL TRIDUUM: HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY and HOLY SATURDAY - April 20, 21 and 20, 2000
HOLY THURSDAY, April 20, 2000
Holy Thursday, April 20: MASS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
Washing of Feet and Transfering the Holy Eucharist to a suitable Tabernacle and stripping of the altar
First Reading: Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14
Psalms: Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
Gospel Reading: John 13: 1-15
Why the HOLY EUCHARIST is the BLESSED Sacrament!
No feast better exemplifies Catholicism than Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper for it was at the Last Supper Jesus Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament when He turned the bread He offered His disciples into His Own Flesh and the wine into His Precious Blood. Though the physical properties of the bread remain the same, when He pronounced the words "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is My Body which will be given up for you." it became His Body. Then, as the Canon of the Mass says, "When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples, and said: 'Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of My Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of Me.'" At that very moment the wine, still wine in all aspects, became His Precious Blood.
Jesus used bread for He is the "Bread of Life" (cf. John 6:35) and wine for He is the "true Vine" (cf. John 15:1). The fruit of the vine becomes the fruits of Redemption, made possible by Christ's death, a death which totally made it possible for every one of God's children to be redeemed. The only difference between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass is that on the former Jesus physically shed His Blood, while in the latter there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death because Christ has already been immolated once. By His death He gained for us the merit and, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, applies to us that merit and reward of His Bloody Death through the unbloody oblation of His Body and Blood during Mass. It is very similar to what one would see on video tape. What was taped happened at the moment it was being filmed. When it is being played over and over, no matter how many times, it is a re-enactment of the event. Though it cannot happen again, we are reliving it as though it were. So also the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Jesus continues to offer Himself as a Sacrifice in order to unite us with Him, to give us a gift worthy to be offered to God (cf. Mal 1:11), "a clean oblation" and allow us the opportunity to share in the merits of His eternal sacrifice on the Cross. The fruits of attending Mass worthily and in the state of grace are that He not only answers our heartfelt prayers, but we gain even more of the merits of Christ for our souls as well as gaining temporal blessings.
When we consider these things, isn't it sad that so few attend Daily Mass? Isn't it even sadder that so many Catholics attend Sunday Mass without truly realizing what they are partaking in? We need to re-emphasize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to instill in all the Catholic faithful the value of the Mass which is infinite because it is the renewal of Christ's death. Therefore to attend Mass devoutly is the greatest prayer we can offer. There is no more holy and divine act that can be performed here on earth than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We need to let all our brothers and sisters know that all who participate in the Mass, both here on earth and in Purgatory, reap the general fruits since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for everyone. This not only includes all who are present, or assist, especially the priest who represents Christ, but also the person for whom it is being offered as well as the souls in Purgatory - the Church Suffering.
Our Lady is constantly reminding us of the importance of Holy Mass, always drawing us closer to her Divine Son Who is ever present in the Tabernacle but never closer to us than during Mass and at Holy Communion for this sacrifice is accomplished at this special time when the species of bread and wine, now Our Lord's Body and Blood are consumed just as His Sacrifice was accomplished when He cried out, "It is Consummated!" and then expired on the Cross. It is so vital to remember that the Mass is not a remembrance or memorial of His death as our protestant brethren assume, but an actual renewal, in the separate consecration of the bread and wine, of the death of Jesus - the separation of His Body and Blood. Isn't it interesting that our protestant brethren waited sixteen centuries before denying the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. They denied it and introduced a different doctrine, one which goes against all that Christ intended. We can't help but wonder how, then, they can explain the powerful meaning of Christ's Own words in John 6: 54-59.
That is also the principle of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the word "sacrament" signifies a means unto holiness. "A Sacrament," the Catechism tells us, "is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." Of all the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist is the most outward sign instituted by Jesus and which we can receive daily. Shouldn't that prompt us to commit to receiving Him more frequently? After all, it is the greatest Sacrament. That's why the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity, is called the "Blessed Sacrament!"
GOOD FRIDAY, April 21, 2000
First Day of the Novena for Divine Mercy
Good Friday, the Second Day of the Easter Triduum, is a day of strict fast and abstinence, we concentrate solely on the Cross, for there is no glory without the Cross. Following is the CONSECRATION TO
First Reading: Isaiah 52: 13-15; 53: 1-12
Psalms: Psalm 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9
Gospel Reading: Reading of the Passion John 18: 1- 39; 19: 1-42
General Intercessions, Veneration of the Holy Cross, and Holy Communion
CONSECRATION TO THE CROSS
For the Lenten Way of the Cross, click on LENTEN MEDITATIONS AND WAY OF THE CROSS
HOLY SATURDAY, April 22, 2000
Second day of the Novena for Divine Mercy
First Reading: Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-2
Psalms: Psalm 104: 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 30, 35 or 33: 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22
Second Reading: Genesis 22: 1-18
Psalms: Psalm 16: 1, 5, 8-11
Third Reading: Exodus 14: 15-27; 15: 1
Psalms: Exodus 15: 1-6, 17-18
Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54: 5-14
Psalms: Psalm 30: 2, 4-6, 11-13
Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55: 1-11
Psalms: Isaiah 12: 2-6
Sixth Reading: Baruch 3: 9-15, 32-38; 4: 1-4
Psalms: Psalm 19: 8-11
Seventh Reading: Ezechiel 36: 16-28
Psalms: Psalm 42: 2-3, 5; 43: 3-4 or 51: 12-15, 18-19
Epistle: Romans 6: 3-11
Psalms: Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 28: 1-10
THE SIGNIFICANCE AND BEAUTY OF THE EASTER VIGIL
Probably no service in the Liturgical calendar is more beautiful and meaningful than the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening. Albeit long, Holy Mother Church
gathers her children together for this special service to not only celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist, but also the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
The Night-watch of the Resurrection begins with the Church totally dark to symbolize the tomb. One candle is lit - the Easter or Paschal Candle which will be lit for every Mass until Pentecost Sunday. Then the light from that Candle is passed to the individual candles the congregation hold and from pew to pew light filters into the Church as the procession begins three times the celebrant chanting "Lumen Christi" or, in the vernacular now, "Light of Christ" to which all answer "Thanks be to God" or "Deo Gratias" in the Latin service.
Once the celebrant reaches the altar the deacon places the Paschal Candle in its permanent holder and the Easter Proclamation begins. Following is the lengthy seven readings and seven accompanying responsorial psalms or readings, all from the Old Testament to symbolize the lengthy time those who were loyal to the Old Covenant spent in Limbo before being released to Heaven by Christ's Death. It was during the three days in the tomb that Christ "descended to the dead" to call all God's faithful ones from Adam and Eve to the day Christ died into Heavenly bliss.
We then move into the New Covenant with the Epistle and Gospel Readings followed by Liturgy of Baptism where candidates who have been undergoing the catechumen program are now fully accepted into the Body of Christ's One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. First all recite the Litany of Saints to unite us in the Communion of Saints as we, the Church Militant join the Church Suffering in Purgatory and the Church Triumphant in Heaven to profess our faith, hope and love in the Trinity and Christ's victory over death. There is then the Blessing of Water and the candidates renounce their sins, make their profession of faith and then receive the Sacrament of Baptism with first the saving water, then the anointing with Chrism oil, clothed with the Baptismal garment and presented a lighted candle symbolic that they have been brought into the Light of Christ and rid of Original Sin. The entire congregation then join the newly baptized candidates in Renewal of their Baptismal Promises by first renouncing their sins, then a Profession of Faith. The Celebrant then sprinkles all with Holy Water from the asperges. Now all the newly baptized candidates are fully received by the entire congregation at the beckoning of the Celebrant.
Following the Liturgy of Baptism is the Celebration of Confirmation where the candidates for Confirmation are invited to come forth where either the Bishop or his appointed representative in the person of the Celebrant lays on hands and then annoints each with the Holy Chrism with the words, "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This concludes the special Easter Vigil liturgy as the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins and, for the first time the newly Baptized are able to partake of this beautiful Liturgy and the entire Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We now have but a few hours to wait until that glorious day - Easter Sunday and the Resurrection - the beginning of the rest of our lives...forever!