Sunday, March 29, 2020

Passion Sunday - Purple Veils

Today is Passion Sunday (in the Extraordinary Rite) - only two weeks remain of Lent. So why do we veil images and statues starting on Passion Sunday? You can find a few explanations, but the one I like is that Jesus hid Himself from the Jews who sought to stone Him, and left the Temple. This is the beginning of Passiontide - a season (sadly) no longer observed in the Ordinary Rite, but in the Extraordinary Rite, it still is. Pictures of Jesus, the Saints, etc. are hidden from us for these last two weeks which increases in us the hunger for Christ and holiness. The veils are a reminder of the fact that Jesus had to hide Himself and so His image is hidden from us too and remain hidden until during the Gloria, which has also been omitted during Lent, of the First Mass of Easter. During the Gloria, the veils are removed the bells ring (which were silenced after Holy Thursday) and we again can look upon Him and His holiness, as also revealed through the Saints (which again, were also veiled for Passiontide).

This excellent tradition of veiling holy items is not just for the Church, but also in the homes of the laity. What a wonderful visual and lesson for our children! If you have not participated in this before, I urge you to do so - now! If you do not have purple cloths, plan to get some - but go ahead and cover with whatever you do have now, change it to purple when you have it. When your children ask about it, you can share the reasoning. As the two weeks progress, they too may begin to miss seeing these images and statues and given another reason to be joyful on Easter Sunday - another reminder that He IS risen!

In the Ordinary Rite, Passion Sunday was moved to and combined with Palm Sunday, liturgically speaking. Again I urge you to keep the tradition of Passion Sunday (there is no rule against doing so!) and not detract from Palm Sunday - when Jesus was honored upon His entrance to Jerusalem which ultimately begins Holy Week, the holiest week in the liturgical year.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Laetare Sunday - 4th Sunday of Lent

Today the vestments are in rose (not pink) to celebrate the joy of seeing our Lord. We are twenty-one days from the glorious celebration of Easter Sunday.

The Gospel reading includes the healing of a man born blind - who sees for the first time and pronounces his belief in the Son of Man - Jesus Christ. Let us all be joyful in seeing the Lord and not be afraid to witness to others, as the man healed of blindness did not fear standing before the Pharisees, even after they had rebuked him.

COVID-19 Considerations
Today, due to mandates to observe social distancing we were encouraged to watch the Mass on TV or on the Internet. Which I did. I watched a couple Masses actually, and I will not name them here in public but was a bit disturbed to see that people were standing (and sitting) right next to each other and at the Kiss of Peace they shook hands with each other, the second Mass I watched did not show the congregation, but the priest and deacon shook hands and embraced. At both Masses the Eucharist was given as the host only, the Precious Blood was reserved for the priest and deacon alone.

A third Mass I watched, celebrated by a bishop, the Kiss of Peace was not physically done at all, "The peace of the Lord be with you always..." and then he moved on with the Agnus Dei. This one did not show the distribution of the Eucharist at all.

Many bishops have already temporarily lifted the Sunday obligation - so check with your local diocese to see if you are among them.

God be with us in these trying times.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Lent

This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. In the Extraordinary Rite we read about Jesus casting out the devil from the dumb man. Traditionally this was a day of testing of the catechumens in preparation for their baptism on Easter Vigil. The first effect of baptism is to free souls from the power of the devil.

One site I read this week encourages everyone to offer up as a Lenten sacrifice to only purchase that which is absolutely needed. In this week of media driven panic people are rushing to stores and hoarding things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer - leaving the shelves empty for others who still need these items while they now have an over-abundance.