Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
As I write this letter several days before Easter, we have enjoyed the 1st sunshine after days of wet and gloom. The sunshine warming the earth almost makes the grass and the plants burst out of the ground with new life. It is a fitting prelude to the celebration of Easter that is this very day.
Holy Week is a prolonged celebration of our salvation history. With Palm Sunday, we bless palms and imagine processing with those bringing Jesus into Jerusalem waving their palms and singing with joy. They proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, their king.
Yet how quickly the celebration and the joyful singing with palm branches gives way to shouts of “crucify him! Crucify him!” The drama of the suffering, death and burial become so real in the reading of the passion from Matthew. We found ourselves becoming part of both crowds.
Monday of Holy Week, there was time for private Reconciliation from 6:30-8:00 pm. It was helping us realize in that sacrament what Jesus was accomplishing for us on his way to crucifixion.
Tuesday evening, our RCIA session covered how our candidates for full communion could participate in the Triduum celebrations, Thursday, Friday and at the Easter Vigil.
Wednesday morning, we celebrated mass at 8:30 am for parishioners and for St. Luke’s school. The Strategic Planning committee and the Facilities committees had their meetings that evening.
Thursday evening, we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 pm. It included the reading from John’s gospel of the Last Supper. In that gospel, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and Peter. He invites them to do the same kind of service for others. We are called to continue being servants like the disciples were in their lives and ministry. As Jesus showed us, we too can “wash the feet” of those among us in need. After celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the mass, adoration continued until 10:00 pm.
Good Friday we listened to the scripture including the reading of the Passion according to John. Then we had an opportunity to come forward and reverence the wood of the cross - to remember that on a cross, Jesus died for us. Prayers and communion followed.
The whole character of Holy Week changes with the Easter Vigil leading to Easter Sunday and its celebrations. At the Vigil, the fire is blessed, the Easter candle is lit and brought into the church with the light spreading to candles held by those present. The “Exultet” is sung.
Several readings and responses are proclaimed. They give the sweep of salvation history through the scriptures. Finally, the gospel from Matthew about the resurrection is proclaimed. Jesus is risen, he is risen indeed is exclaimed. Candidates from full communion in the church are welcomed and they receive Confirmation and Eucharist. The joy of the Lord is at hand.
The Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations give us a chance to open our hearts to all that God is doing in the resurrection of Jesus. We too can now come to share in eternal resurrection life with Jesus Christ our Lord. We have every reason to celebrate and to let Easter Joy fill our hearts this special day.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann