We have just heard Saint Matthew’s Haggadah of Christ’s Passover (26-27), beginning with his account of the Last Supper, which was a Seder Supper or Passover meal, according to Saints Paul, Mark, Matthew and Luke.
We heard in great detail of Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as his zik- karon (memorial) in the Cenacle or Upper Room, of his agony in the garden and his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. We heard of Christ’s arrest by the chief priests and elders of the people and his trial before them for blasphemy.
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak
-an excerpt from “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes
Pope Francis discussed a range of issues in an interview published on March 9, in the German weekly Die Zeit. Among these topics was the shortage of priests, which led the Holy Father to reflect on possible solutions to this “crisis.”
The pope rejected one possible solution out of hand: opening seminaries’ doors to men “who do not have an authentic vocation.” He warned that those who are “not priests by vocation will ruin the Church.” I hope no Catholic would disagree with that stance.
It had been a while since I’d done a thorough cleaning of my home. I spent the good part of a day mopping, dusting, vacuuming, and moving furniture around to get into the deepest crevices. What always occurs to me, when I do these rare thorough cleanings, is the extent to which I can overlook significant dust and dirt build-up in my daily life.
Usually I am motivated by something outside myself, an upcoming overnight guest, a dinner party, to give my house a better cleaning than usual. You would think after all these years of living, I would establish a system.
The center of the Church’s year is the solemn three-day festival called the “Paschal Triduum.” These three days —Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday commemorate the Paschal Mystery: the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of God died for our sins and rose for our justification. And so, for nearly 2,000 years, Christians have celebrated his dying and rising every Sunday. Indeed, the Catholic Church celebrates Eucharist, the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice nearly every day.
Many Christians find themselves angry a good portion of the time lately. Angry because hate crimes have escalated. Minorities have been scapegoated. Vulnerable communities are frightened. Sick people are concerned about losing their health care. Our country appears to be choosing “law and order” over human dignity and civil rights.
Our anger must be directed appropriately. We can’t direct it at people; it must be directed at policies, positions, executive orders. We need to be angry at actions and inactions that risk harming and oppressing our brothers and sisters.
Originally Appeared in : Issue 9704, Feb. 16, 2017 on p. 15
We have the good fortune this year to have sufficient time before Lent begins to hear from the first two chapters (out of three) of the Sermon on the Mount as recounted in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew at Mass on Sundays.