Holy SaturdayI've been subdued by the attempt to solemnly, somberly, and soberly (try saying that quickly three times) on the Great Mystery that is the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Thank you, my Lord and God, for opening wide all that you are. What more can be said; what gift, what honor, what blessing could possibly be greater?
Tonight I once again have the honor of proclaiming the great song of the Resurrection. It is something I do not take lightly and more than once I have nearly lost my composure in chanting God's praises. I have generally tried to keep a low profile during this day, in order to be best prepared for this roughly seven-minute tribute.
Having said this, I think I would have to cloister myself in order to be that ready. There's just too much quirkiness going on these last couple of days:
- Realizing that this great feast is imminent, my son decided to hijack the television set to watch the rites on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), one of a few Catholic broadcasters. Watching the liturgies themselves is one thing. The programming inbetween is something else again. Between EWTN and the Catholic Channel on radio, I got the full range of services and paraliturgical programs several times. I had the privilege of listening to meditations on Theodor DuBois' Seven Last Words of Christ, a three-hour program. But I heard it out of sequence: the ending movements first, the beginning movements in the middle, and the middle movements at the end. I also watched - twice - David Barry's dramatization, The Passion According to Radix (link to which I posted on my Facebook page; son watched and my wife was subjected to watching it a third time). It is a very intense program, standing in contrast to the children's programming. The latter is apparently the work of some folks who might aspire to work for the Children's Television Workshop; but will never get there with butchered song lyrics like: God is present in the Tuh-BERN-uh-cuhl (actual pronunciation is TAB-er-naah-cuhl; correct spelling, tabernacle). Singing this song three times in a thirty minute program drives home a lesson, although I'm not sure the correct lesson is being caught. But how can you say no to this, considering what else is on the tube?
- A friend of mine posted as his Facebook status this morning: "In case you were wondering, Jesus is still dead." This immediately brought to mind one of the very first "Weekend Update" sketches on Saturday Night Live. Now I'm pondering whether Chevy Chase's deadpan delivery or Garrett Morris' shouting it 'for the hearing impaired' is funnier.
- Another friend of mine texted to Facebook, lamenting that McDonald's was closed this morning. What? The fast food icon closed? On a Saturday, perhaps one of the busier ones of the year? Then a few quips from friends, like: Why are you looking for the fresh among the processed? (Something my dear wife could preach on!) And I realized that in my friend's community, the McDonald's franchises are owned by a Jewish family. Today's the first day of Passover, and it's a day of rest for them - that explains the unusual closing.
- Midday today is also traditionally a time when food that will be used in the preparation of Easter dinner is blessed. I am picturing ladies with baskets of bread, butter, and eggs (among other things) and children with modest baskets of candy showing up at church; while in the meantime, it is being decorated for all the festivity of the Great Sunday, the season of Easter that is about to begin.
- Preparation for Easter dinner is well underway here. It will be a great feast, the likes of which I have not experienced for a long time, if ever. For this year we are indulging, if you will, in some of the Sicilian ethnic delights associated with feasting on Easter.
Many Easter blessings o all who read this! May your joy be complete in the knowledge of the risen Christ!