The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Why is This Night Different?

"When your son asks you in time to come, `What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD our God has commanded you?' then you shall say to your son, `We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes; and he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land which he swore to give to our fathers.
Deuteronomy 6: 20-23

This week, God's chosen people celebrate the beautiful festival of Pesach, one of the Shalosh R'galim, and commonly referred to as the Passover. While the festival celebrates the beginning of the harvest season in Israel, its primary importance serves to bring forward the event of the Jews exodus from Egypt. During the Sedar meal, the youngest child sitting at the supper table will recite from the Haggadah a simple question,

Why is this night different from all other nights?

It's a good question for Christians to ponder entering into the Easter Triduum. For Christ, who entered into a Jerusalem as hero this last Palm Sunday now enters into His final hours of his encounter with humanity as one of them. The word made flesh that dwelt among us now gets to experience the utter cruelty of Adam's descendants. Yet before He consummates this relationship with man by a horrific death on the cross, he gives mankind the most extraordinary gift, his very body, blood, soul, and divinity. He gives humanity the Eucharist.

And while such a gift came into the world in a vessel full of grace, Mary, Christ does the most humble of things and entrusts the perpetuation of the gift into the hands of sinners. Peter, mere hours after having received communion for the first time at the Last Supper and even a shorter amount of time after witnessing Christ heal Malchus whose ear he had lopped off in the Garden of Gethsemane; the man whom Christ gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, denies Our Lord.

And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:75

How many of times does one weep bitterly over denying Our Lord? How often does one experience such profound sorrow for having offended God, not because one fears for the salvation of one's soul, but rather out of having disappointed a loved one so deeply? Does one bring a laundry list of sins into the confessional that get efficiently rattled off to the priest behind the screen, or does one bring one's wounded and sorrowful heart to Jesus for healing?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

The genius of God so often gets discovered in His use of opposites. For while Pesach celebrates the night God so intimately communes with the Jews in exile in Egypt, Good Friday reminds Christians of the day the incarnate God, Jesus, died for all of humanity. While every other night of the year, Christ in the Eucharist is found in the Church, on Good Friday the tabernacle is empty, the adoration chapel is closed. This night is different because Our Lord is not there.

For the believer, there exists a genuine sense of loss on this day. There remains a bit of sadness. True, Christ chose to die to redeem humanity. He didn't have to. God could have simply snapped His fingers and accomplished the goal. The goodness of this Friday perhaps lies in the realization of a Heavenly Father willing to humble himself to the point of death on the cross. That is not only good. It's beautiful.

Take some time Good Friday to realize the gift that has been given...the price that has been paid. And if one examines one's interior and discovers that one truly is not worthy of such profound love as demonstrated by Christ, do not distress, but rather rejoice. Christ was born to die for one's imperfections. Strive to repent out of love for His perfect act of love and know that His grace and mercy is ever true.


Blogger RAnn said...

I'm writing to you because you've participated in the now-defunct Catholic Carnival. I'd be interested in continuing it, but as a meme, not a carnival. Rather than submitting a post to a carnival host, who would compile them and publish them, I propose to publish weekly, on my blog, a post titled St. Blog's Sunday Snippets highlighting any posts I would have submitted to the Catholic Carnival and inviting others to create similar posts on thier blogs, link to my post and leave a comment on my post giving a link to your post. If it isn't clear what I mean, check out my blog and look for the Mailbox Monday posts. My post is on my blog, and you'll see a link to the host blog. On the host blog, you'll see the master post, and all the links folks have left in the comments.

This is a lot less work than a carnival and would allow you to use your Sunday Snippets post to highlight and link to one or more of your posts and to any great links you have found that week.

I have set up a yahoo group from which I will post weekly reminders. Please subscribe if you are interested. Thanks.


9:59 PM  

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