Thursday, April 1, 2010


One reviewer of the 2nd of the Star Wars sagas commented that the first movie (the original Star Wars) allowed for a sequel; the 2nd (The Empire Strikes Back) demanded one.

For those folks whose love of classical music leans toward masochism (sorry—I’m biased!), seeing the ending of Wagner’s Die Walküre (#2 of the four-operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen), with Brünnhilde in an enchanted sleep, guarded by the Magic Fire, while Wotan walks off the stage, you know you must come back for (yet) another 5-hr opera, Siegfried.

Taking part in Holy Thursday’s Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper is in its own way like the Star Wars series or the Ring tetralogy: you know by the way tonight’s worship doesn’t end that there is more to come: we leave Jesus “in the Garden”—do we stay with Him and pray? It’s the beginning of the “Triduum” (the 3-Day liturgy). What will happen next?

A couple of years ago a man (whose wife and son are Catholic) was asked to come to the Triduum because a friend of his asked him (the friend was in the process of becoming Catholic at that Easter Vigil). The man later told me, “I saw Holy Thursday, and I had to see what would happen on Friday. Then I had to come back again for the Easter Vigil.” He joined the RCIA process and was received into the Church the very next year.

This is the power of the liturgy—to draw us into the Paschal Mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord: the once-for-all sacrifice made present and effective sacramentally for us here and now.

I hope many will experience the somber setting of tonight’s liturgy, with foot-washing and procession and adoration; I hope many will continue through the starkness of Good Friday’s Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, with the petitions, the Cross, the Communion; I hope many will enter into the joy of the Liturgy of the Lord's Resurrection at the Easter Vigil, with the new fire, the Easter candle, the history of salvation, the empty tomb, the baptisms, the return of “Alleluia” to our worship.

St. Augustine said, “We are Easter people, and ‘Alleluia!’ is our song.” The Triduum is the best way I know fully to appreciate being Easter people filled with Easter joy. Come join the Church in her desire to be resurrected with Christ, to be renewed in Christ, to be purified by Christ.


  1. Father, I have spent the last week alongside my Mother (who is Greek Orthodox) and truly walking each day in prayer, fasting and meditation and the pain I feel in my heart and soul right now reminds me of what is to come, of where this weekend will take me.

    Thank God there is more to come..

    I was listening to the radio today here in SC and heard the same "We are Easter people"!

    I wish I was closer.

  2. Yes, Lord, it took some wonderful medical news, but I can truly say

    "We are Easter People -- Alleluia"!!!