Monday, March 29, 2010
Happy Monday of Holy Week to you all.
Our celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion yesterday at my parish, St. James, went quite well. The music really served the many movements of this liturgy. It has been a long time since I have cried at Mass. But I did so this weekend when the choir and our two wonderful soloists sang Patrick Bradley's Only Love. The lyrics: "Only love held him there on the cross; he could have called ten thousand angels to come to his rescue; only love held him there on the cross." The verses are a variation on the verses of The Old Rugged Cross. This is a real gem. I was so proud of the choir for all the work they have put into their ministry. And I was proud that this fine piece is published by WLP.
I did have one uncomfortable moment at Mass. And this has happened to me before at St. James and at other parishes. We chanted a lovely unpublished Gospel Acclamation (duh, maybe I should submit it to WLP!). Then the deacon began, "The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke." We all responded and then he announced, "In order to properly meditate on the Passion of the Lord, please be seated." Now I completely understand why parishes do this. There are people who simply cannot stand for that long a period of time. But most Catholics can. This is a day of the year when one of the most important Gospel texts is proclaimed. Of all days, this is the day we should be standing. We stand because we honor the real presence of Christ in the proclamation of the Gospel. To me, it just seems too comfortable to sit during the proclamation. Besides the three readers, I was the only one standing, all by myself in a corner. Did my feet hurt? Yes. Was it uncomfortable after the first ten minutes? Yes. At one point I thought of the hours I have spent standing in lines at places like Disneyworld. I also thought about the years I spent as a kid at these liturgies standing through these long Gospels and developing an intuitive sense that because of the fact that I was standing for so long—much longer than at other Masses—there must be something extra special about Palm Sunday and Good Friday. What do you do in your parish?
Anyway, that's my rant for the Monday of Holy Week. Even though we all didn't stand yesterday at St. James, the presence of the Lord was so real, at least in my own heart.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.