We are spending all of Holy Week in house this year. It is a tradition that every other year we celebrate Holy Week in house so we can see how the liturgies are done within the American Church. So we started Palm Sunday outside in the courtyard with the traditional palm branches and also a large number of olive branches. That's new for me.
Here's our rector Msgr. Checchio
And the procession line
Fr. Robert Barron, of the famous Word on Fire website, is our scholar in residence for the next couple months while writing a book. He gave us a talk in preparation for Holy Week. As you can see, he really loves to use the hands.
He spoke of the passion narrative in Luke which has heavy messianic overtones. He went through three promises of the Messiah, the promise to unite the tribes of Israel, purify the Temple, and defeat all of Israel's enemies.
The promise to unite the tribes of Israel was fulfilled in a more extreme way than the Jews could imagine. It was not about uniting just the physical tribes of Israel but all people in communion with each other and with God. This union was effected by the destruction of sin through Jesus' death and resurrection because it is sin that truly divides.
And the devil is the one who loves to divide us (demon literally means to divide). The devil also loves to make us accuse each other (satan literally means to accuse someone). Barron points to satan entering into Judas and then Judas accusing Jesus. And he challenged us to get in the way of the satanic and the demonic, to stop the divisions and the accusations, which is so common, especially here. Barron said we sit around the table and maybe we start with talking about the weather but eventually we love to point out the foibles or mistakes of others. Indeed how true.
But he also pointed out that when we pick a fight with the demonic and the satanic, when we smoke the enemy out, we get everything coming out to meet us. And the way we win out, is not by battling the enemy on his own terms, but like Jesus, we overcome them through forgiving love, which swallows the darkness up.
We tried out a game of touch rugby yesterday. I consider it cultural immersion. We did not look quite this tough.
photo by jessflickr
I just found out we have 56 guys signed up to come in next year as part of the class of 2014. After classes of 61 and 58 the past 2 years, I don't know where we are going to put all of them. But that's never a bad thing. :)