Friday, March 21, 2008

"does anybody see that... He died upon a tree."

So typical of Good Friday, the day was spent mainly in church with Stations at 12, the Liturgy of the Passion and Death of the Lord at 3pm, and the Tenebrae Service at 7:30pm. I believe that technically the Tenebrae Service is supposed to be on Wednesday, but we have it on Friday with Veneration of the Cross, so that people who can't make the 3pm service have something to go to at night. It's nice of us isn't it.

So Stations went as Stations do, with my mother looking at me as if I am nuts when I say I'm not using the kneeler. I didn't and don't, I feel to constricted when I have to use the kneeler and I am capable of not using it so while I can I will.

The afternoon service was interesting because we had to do it "old school" meaning since Bishop Rodimer was the main celebrant that we went back to using the "traditional" Good Friday petitions. That was nice, thanks Bishop. I really don't like when we change it and have it sung, having Bishop in attendance also meant that the Passion was actually read in parts, not read by parish staff members and having us stop every so often to sing some stupid ass refrain of "We Remember We celebrate, we believe" Really can we tell I'm a traditionalist. I would love to one day be in Rome for the Triduum, just to see how the Pope does it, or even be insane enough to partake in the Latin Mass version.

Bishop Rodimer can be hit or miss in his homilies with me, and I just prayed to remember one thing. He spoke of the differences in the versions of the Passion that we hear, and that how in John's the version we hear every Good Friday, shows Jesus being in charge, in a pretty much don't mess with me type thing, he spoke of how in Mark's Gospel how the Apostles abandon Jesus, case in point the young man running off naked and away from Jesus, he spoke of I think Luke's Gospel, but I don't remember his point about it, so I will take as being I wasn't meant to remember it. Bishop spoke more about John's Gospel and how the reading for the Triduum don't change from year to year like the rest of the readings, I actually didn't know that, I assumed that, but never really paid attention to it. Bishop mentioned how in John's Passion that the Royalty of Christ is proclaimed in 3 languages (Hebrew, Greek and Latin) and how Jesus was in charge, saying to Pilate that you have no power except what has been given to you from above. Bishop also mentioned how there is no Garden scene in John's Passion. He spoke of how this is really a celebration of the victory over death, hence why it's called Good Friday, as I added instead of crappy or shitty (yeah I know I was sitting in Church, but God will forgive me) Friday.

I've always looked at Good Friday as being the day to do nothing but pray and whatnot, it's what's been ingrained in me, and apparently the Church as well, because according to Bishop Rodimer the early Church did nothing on this day, they didn't celebrate Mass or anything, which is still true today, Mass is not celebrated today, which is ironic considering that Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, but the Church realized that it needed to bring it's people together to celebrate the event of the day. Without Good Friday there is no Easter Sunday. Guess I remembered more than one thing from his homily, that's impressive for me.

I am fully aware that Easter is technically the more important holy day, but I have equally enjoyed and celebrated Christmas and Easter, because without Easter there is no Christmas, and well without Christmas there is no Easter. They are tied into each other.

Since we tend to get to Church early for the simple reason of wanting a seat, I tend to watch how people act on Good Friday. It amuses me to no end how many people just genuflect to an obviously empty church. For goodness sake, the sanctuary candle isn't even in Church, the tabernacles are wide open, He's not there. Even last night my mom Blessed herself as we drove past the Church, and I said mom, what did you do that for, Jesus isn't in the Church anymore. "I'm blessing myself in front of my church." Me"Mom, you are aware that by blessing yourself in front of a Catholic church that you are acknowledging the Blessed Sacrament." Mom, "That's not what I was taught." So I made of the point of saying ok if you're just blessing yourself in front of a church, the next time you pass by Pastor Eric's church bless yourself. Her response was I don't want their blessing, and no I won't do that, I said yeah because Jesus isn't physically present in that church. I pointed out that it was she who taught me my faith, and some how the conversation ended.

It really does surprise me how many people forget that what makes us Catholic and a Catholic Church is the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Many people that I would expect to know better genuflected to the empty tabernacle, and I thought ok we need an educational series on the Triduum. Maybe it's just the fact that for 28 years (ok maybe not all of them, but I remember being at the Vigil and other services for a good many of them) I have had the pleasure of partaking in the Sacred Triduum, and take for granted that I know what to do. I don't need a book, or "worship aid", I've been given a grace to know what happens.

I guess this puts a new spin on Good Friday for me, I will still focus on the Death of Christ, considering that it was my sins that put Christ on the Cross. Oh, Bishop Rodimer mentioned that we shouldn't feel guilty for putting Christ on the Cross, because Jesus went willingly, and without regret. I can't remember his exact words, it might have been unreluctantly, but the point was that Jesus knew what He was doing, and there was no way we could stop Him. He did this purely out of love for us. A love we will not fully understand until we are with Him and the angels and saints in Heaven.

Tomorrow night brings one of the best Masses, well ending of the Mass that was started on Thursday, seriously a Mass that's 3 days longs, and you receive Communion 3 times, it's strange. Anyway, the Vigil is one the most beautiful celebrations, and I can't wait for it.

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