Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Here

The beginning of the high Holy Days is here.  Back just a few weeks ago I was mentioning (whining, really) about the fact that Lent had barely begun.  But now the end is here, and we are entering the best time of the year.  Hands down.  In my book, at least.

I love that Lent is a preparation for this time of year.  In some small way, we are encouraged to die to ourselves.  Whatever we choose to give up can be hard, but it is also a little sacrifice so that we can have a little better appreciate of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  We can empty ourselves to be filled with Him as He pours Himself out for us on the cross.  I'm so glad that so many Protestants are starting to celebrate Lent as well.  Yes, that is the proper term for participation in Lent.  

Today is Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, if you will.  (What does "Maundy" mean?  I get confused.  In my head, it sounds like "Monday Thursday."  What day of the week is that?)  Anyway, it is the celebration of the Last Supper.  I love all parts of this.  Did you know that washing the feet was a job that was so lowly that even the lowliest slave of the Jews was not required to perform that task?  Just found that out from a footnote in the Bible.

Of course, we Catholics celebrate this as the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the fulfillment of the Passover.  (Well, not just this, obviously also His sacrifice on the cross.) 

Then the liturgy is so meaningful to me.  Especially at the end, when the priest will process with Jesus and we honor Him, but then the altar is stripped.  To me, there is nothing that is more sad than when the altar is bare and, worse, that the tabernacle is empty.  Yet, I can't think of anything that would be more appropriate for the emptiness of Good Friday when Jesus dies.

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