Bask in the Mystery

Dear Parishioners,

Unlike the crowds shouting Hosanna and waving branches of palm, this crowd had their heads bowed in silent prayer. It was an awesome moment, a first look at a new pope, and he had just done something extraordinary: he asked for a favor. He asked for a blessing from the people before he gave his first blessing to them. How about that?

The very first official blessing of the pontificate of Francis I came, not from the Pope himself, but from the people gathered outside the door! I think Jesus would like that. He himself never seemed comfortable with any suggestion of traditional royal treatment. The palm branch procession into Jerusalem which we remember today probably embarrassed him and maybe even annoyed him. After all, didn’t it mean that despite all his attempts at teaching the Kingdom of God, this crowd just wasn’t getting it? The Kingdom is about service and how we treat the ones with no voice; it’s when the first is last and the last is first; it’s how the greatest is the least. Not about titles and limos and ermine capes.

As a parish community of people, we come to the days of the year when we celebrate our identity as followers of Christ. The liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil give us a framework in which to place the past year and all of the ways that we have been at the work of God and all of the ways the work of God has been gong on within us. It is a time to think of the feet we’ve washed and the crosses we’ve cried over, the light we’ve seen and the dark we’ve endured, the things we’ve mourned and the new life we’ve welcomed. It’s remembering how we worked and sweated and cooked and cleaned on a hot day in July so some city kids would have decent school clothes. It’s how we took some Broadway razzle-dazzle and a little bit of pasta and turned it into hope for some battered women. It’s the elves who hung hundreds of candy-canes on a weeping cherry tree on Christmas Eve as an antidote to the poison of Newtown. It’s the open door, the shoulder to cry on, the place of peace, the generous hand, the hot soup, the gentle touch, the glimpse of the Kingdom that we have all tried to be in the past year. As I look over the past year, I think Francis would like it here. And so would Jesus…..

These days are the time to give God praise for it all, our time to see God’s reflection in the doings of a parish, a time to ask God’s guidance in shaping us into the people we are meant to be. So join us as we gather with new friends and old, with those from a distance and those who live across the street. Beginning at sundown on Thursday, the Triduum is our time to bask in the Mystery, a Paschal Mystery, of death that leads to life, over and over and over again.

A last thought: some parishioners are in Buenos Aires visiting family and they just emailed about the excitement in the city over Pope Francis. They write:

I think Jesus would like that…….especially the tango CDs!

Father John