by Mitchell Brost
The second weekend of March Madness is just beginning and already Holy Week is upon us. If your bracket is still mostly intact, then well done – this is the perfect opportunity for you to spend extra time at church to pray for a little more grace to clean up the competition. Or, if your bracket is anything like mine, you don’t need to worry about praying for extra help because all your meaningful picks fell in the early rounds. Thanks, UMBC.
But regardless of the status of your bracket, Lent is quickly becoming visible in the rearview mirror. Holy Week is just days away, and that often means a lot of stress and busyness is heading your way. As someone who altar serves, trains altar servers, and participates in the choir at the Triduum Masses, I know what it’s like to feel like you live at your church for Holy Week. Actively participating in various ministries at Mass is not only extremely beneficial, but also extremely necessary. Everyone is called to serve, and by serving at Mass, we not only serve God, but also our parish communities. But there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
Something that my family has realized is that we’ve allowed busyness at Mass to replace an actual relationship with God. Purpose and action has given us the illusion that we’re being pious and locked in to the Mass. But what it actually does is distract us. This is especially true during Triduum. The liturgy (liturgically, Triduum is only one day despite being spread across three days) that takes place between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday is packed with the most emotional Scriptural readings, the most solemn processions, and the most joyous moments of the liturgical year. But it’s so easy to allow our attention to be totally distracted by our jobs. On Holy Thursday, I worry that the altar servers will take the wrong route through the church during the Eucharistic procession. On Good Friday, I’m critical of how the servers are wiping the kisses off the cross during veneration. On Holy Saturday, I’m tuning out the readings because I’m mentally practicing my next drum fill. Different roles have different distractions.
Of course, none of this means that it’s impossible to be involved and focused during Mass. But these next few days leading up to Triduum might be a good time to step back from roles to focus on the main theme of Triduum: God’s love. This love is shown humbly by Jesus when He deigned to wash His Apostles’ feet before the Last Supper. This love is shown selflessly by Jesus when He chooses to give His own life for our sins. That’s something that is so easy to forget – Jesus easily could have chosen not to die for us. But His love for us and for His Father is so great that He was able to overcome His fears. He didn’t die because we are perfect, but rather He died because we are imperfect.
Furthermore, the single possible thing that could have brought Jesus back from death is God’s love. God literally loved Jesus back to life. Similarly, God loves us back from the death of sin through His son’s sacrifice. And so out of the horrors of the Passion, the despair of Jesus’ death, God brings forth hope and goodness, all made possible by His infinite, perfect love. During Holy Thursday and Good Friday, it is natural to feel sadness, regret, and shame. But also take a moment to feel thankful. It is important for us to recognize why Jesus went through such suffering, and to thank Him for it. It is equally important to understand what made His Resurrection, and our subsequent spiritual resurrection, possible: God’s love. It is the amorous salvation we are given that gives us the joy we feel on Easter. How blessed we are to have a God who loves us so perfectly!
Mitchell Brost is a columnist for Clarifying Catholicism and is a High School student.
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Mitchell that was an outstanding article and I loved the March Madness title! Well done all around!