I love the Triduum! It was 10 years ago that I attended my first Holy Thursday Mass. It was shortly after my “re-conversion” to the faith and I was blown away.
As I watched with wonder at the beauty of the Mass and tried to understand the depth of the liturgy, I left the church that night in a bit of a stupor. As I stumbled out of the church past the priest, I walked up to him and said “It is like coming home. It is like being away at college for a long time and then you come back home. It feels like that!” I don’t know if anyone else can understand that sentimentality, but its impact has never left me.
Each year I enter into this sacred week with certain expectations. What I expect never seems to be what I get, but if I approach it with my eyes and heart open I most certainly hear God’s voice.
This year my personal, family life is in a bit of a disarray. With two children at college and their needs and schedules changing- regular family traditions are a bit off. Easter baskets have changed from candy and bunny rabbits to gas cards and cash. To top it all off – we are remodeling our kitchen so we have no stove, sink or refrigerator. We will not be making Easter eggs, traditional ham dinner or even a pizza!
Trying to enter into a prayerful mood – I left my home an hour early to attend the Holy Thursday Mass. The sounds of saws, screw guns and hammers were interrupting my already distracted mind. I was looking for a little peace!
As I walked into the church – the first thing I noticed was the empty tabernacle. It immediately brought to mind the thought that Jesus was not “in the house.” Their is something sad about an empty tabernacle.
As I sat in a corner to collect my thoughts and pray when I looked up at the hustle and bustle going on around me. From a distance I noticed the choir rehearsing – a unified choir with our Latino and English speaking community. I noticed a young man from our Catholic high school walking the other servers through server training. I saw the sacristan putting out candles, readers looking over their readings, volunteers arranging flowers and ushers setting out worship aids. All this action could have put me on edge since I came to the church to get away from the bustle of my home, but then I realized something.
Jesus WAS “in the house!”
Everyone there – a community – had come together to make this happen. They were joyfully doing their part to bring others to God through the liturgy.
Of course the Holy Thursday Liturgy speaks of service. Service to each other. Service to those in need. The Holy Thursday Liturgy also speaks of the Eucharist – the body of Christ. And He was present there in the people and at the great offering of the Sacrament.