As of this writing, March 21st, we are in our 15th day of Lent. You don’t need to be a math major to wonder how, if Ash Wednesday was the 5th of March, we are only 15 days into our Lenten observance and preparation for Easter. The reason for the seemingly inaccurate count is that Sundays during Lent don’t count. Sunday, the Lord’s day which also commemorates His Resurrection, is like a ‘time-out’ from the austerity and somberness of the 40 days which make up the season of Lent. I was once told that perhaps a practical reason for this was that the eggs, milk, cheese and other perishable goods on the farm were accumulating and, because of no refrigeration, had to be eaten and not wasted, which would have been considered a sin. The penitential nature and fasting which is the focus of the 40 days of Lent are somewhat suspended on Sundays, anticipating the Big Sunday, Easter. So, that piece of chocolate, that soda, that beer or glass of wine on Sunday becomes a taste of the feasting that will happen on Easter Sunday.
Throughout Lent, Easter is always within sight. Some of the more contemporary Stations of the Cross devotions include a 15th Station, the Resurrection, to remind us that the cross and burial give way to a rolled back stone at the tomb. Our Lenten journey with Christ culminates with the three most important days of the entire Church year, the Triduum, which translates as The Three Days. Those Three Days are Holy Thursday [March 17], Good Friday [March 18] and Easter Sunday, which begins at sundown on Holy Saturday [March 19th] and the rising of the sun on Sunday, [March 20th ]. I know it’s confusing but we have to remember that in Jewish tradition the new day begins with the setting of the sun. That’s why we have the ability to have a Saturday evening Mass which counts for Sunday, because in Jewish tradition, it is already Sunday. These Three Days should be marked on your calendars and every effort made to be part of the Church’s most solemn celebrations. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil will be celebrated at St. Mary. This is a perfect opportunity for our two church of St. Mary and St. Joseph to be concrete witnesses to Christ’s plea that ‘they may be one, Father, as You and I are one.’
Easter Sunday services will take on a somewhat different format. The Easter Sunday Mass at St. Joseph will be at the regular time of 7:30am. Due to the large crowds that are expected at St. Mary, the Easter Masses will be celebrated outdoors on the large pavilion. [Of, course, weather permitting]. This will enable everyone to be included comfortably in the celebration and also provide a unique Easter Sunday experience. There will be a sunrise Mass at 6:30am. The other Masses will be at the regularly scheduled times of 9:00am and 10:30am. All will be on the pavilion. The church will, of course, be open for guests to tour. There are, as of this writing, 25 days until Easter. Let’s use them wisely in prayer, fasting and reaching out to those in need. Oh, and pray especially hard for good weather on Easter Sunday.