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Things I've Seen & Heard, musings of Fr. Bryan Reif

On behalf of our entire staff at both St. Al’s and St. Simon, I wish all of you a very Happy Easter!

We have just finished our journey through Holy Week, and through the Paschal Triduum, in which we celebrated the most Holy Feasts that we celebrate throughout the Liturgical Year. I wanted to reflect briefly on Holy Thursday. On Holy Thursday, we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, in which we recall the Lord’s institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, and the Priesthood. Holy Thursday, in a certain sense, is a time of reflection and renewal for priests, as at the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, they renew their priestly promises, and re-dedicate themselves to their lives of servant leadership within the Church, for the good of souls, and for salvation. This ministry that we priests have been called to by Our Lord places us in people’s lives at their most joyous moments, but perhaps just as much if not more in their moments of great sadness and sorrow. As priests, we have the great privilege of being able to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the Eucharist. It is in these moments that the purpose of our vocation is realized as we bring God’s Mercy to those who are broken, restoring them, and as we celebrate what the Church rightly calls “the source and summit of the Christian life”, that is The Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we enter into the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross offered to God the Father for the salvation of the whole world. What happens at every Mass, whether it is a grand Liturgy at a Cathedral, or the simplest Liturgy in a small country church, whether the priest is engaging with the people, or just simply trying to get through that day, what happens at every Mass is nothing short of miraculous and totally awesome. Jesus comes among us! He is truly present in the Sacred Species, no longer bread and wine, but His Body, and Blood, the True, and Eternal God, God the Son, on our altars, in our Tabernacles, whom we receive into our bodies, so we can become more like Him! That’s Holy Thursday; that’s every Mass, every day! After the Mass on Holy Thursday evening, the altar is stripped and Mass is not celebrated again until the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. The Liturgy of the Passion on Good Friday is not a Mass, but it is a commemoration and remembrance of what Jesus did for us in His Sacred Passion, in His dying on the Cross. After the end of the Liturgy on Good Friday, through Saturday, up until the Easter Vigil, the Church is quiet, its in the tomb with our Lord. The Sacraments on Holy Saturday are not celebrated except in very grave cases, and this is so we respect, remember, and honor the Lord’s time in the tomb. Then, at the Easter Vigil, there is a new fire, a new flame, a new Easter Candle, and the Lord’s Resurrection is celebrated.

Every Mass, every Liturgy, every word, every sign and symbol we use carries with it some meaning meant to increase our faith. I hope and pray that this Easter, you find yourself aflame with the love of God, and the Gift of Faith He renews within each one of us.

Take Good Care,

Fr. Bryan


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