As I drove home last night, I saw what I call the “Easter-is-coming-soon-moon”—the first full moon after the spring equinox. This is the moon that each year determines the date of Easter Sunday which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
I’ve always loved this about the Catholic Church. Our time and the way we move through time are guided not just by our human-made inventions of calendars, clocks, and PDAs, but also by the passing of seasons and the movement of the cosmos. In wonderful Catholic fashion, even our time is both/and: solar and lunar, constant and moveable, made by human hands and God-given. Every act of worship is always first a response in obedience to God’s call. The call to worship is not commanded by our day timer, like an appointment on our “to do” list. It is our response to God who created time by separating the light from the darkness and placing lights in the dome to mark the fixed times, the days, and the years (Gn 1:14). To worship God is to submit our control of time to the one to whom all time belongs. To worship is to submit ourselves to relationship with God and with what God has created.
When the sun sets tonight, the Church will again respond to God’s call. In the annual celebration of the Triduum, we spend three days, 72 hours in worship. Yet the time beginning tonight until sundown on Sunday is both timeless and filled with all of time. It is the ultimate experience of God’s time, kairos, that we can have in this earthly life.
The entire Church watches for the signs of God’s call—the tumult of spring rain, the yellow bursts of daffodils, the greening of trees, the equilibrium between light and dark, the fullness of the moon, and the setting of the sun. If our Lenten watchfulness has taught us anything, we will pay attention to the signs all around us.
During this Triduum, we are confronted with God’s paradoxical signs. We are shown an example of radical friendship by our God washing dirty, calloused, sinful feet. We kiss the sign—the cross—that marks us and claims us at the beginning and the end and throughout our Christian life. We tell again the long history of signs that have led God’s people through the history of salvation: evening and morning, angels and rams, pillars of clouds and walls of water, rain and snow from heaven, seeds and bread for a hungry people, and an empty tomb and a profound command for a desperate world—Go and tell his disciples, he is risen! We wash, anoint, clothe, and feed the Elect now called Neophytes, the living signs of “he-is-risen!” among us. And finally, we ourselves become signs, human yet divine, sinners yet saints, of God’s everlasting promise.
This past week, our nation has been talking a lot about signs. A teenage boy opens fire at his school in Minnesota, killing 10 people, including his grandfather. The New York Times headline today reads, “Signs of Danger Were Missed in a Troubled Teenager's Life.” Advocates on both sides of the issue in Terri Schiavo’s case are watching closely for signs of conscious life in this woman’s depleted body. The signs of our times are calling us to respond.
In this week’s DSJ Liturgy Notes, you’ll find:
- 14 Questions on the Paschal Triduum
- Rite for Receiving the Holy Oils
- Special Intercession for Good Friday
- Disposing of Old Paschal Candles
- Disposing of Old Holy Oils
- The Easter and Pentecost Sequences
- Prayer Over Water Already Blessed
- Vino & Vespers – April 22, 2005
- Special Intercession for April 23/24
- Liberation Theology in Latin America: The Salvadoran Story
- Writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero
- Stations of the Cross/Via Crucis of Oscar Romero
- Diocese of St. Petersburg's Statement on Terri Schiavo
- Classifieds: Seek and Ye Shall Find
Come, let us worship!
Associate for Liturgy