In his Palm Sunday homily Fr. Erik gave a very compelling invitation to join in the various Holy Week activities and Triduum Liturgy, and I wrote about this in my parent letter that week. Participating in the various activities and services during Holy Week, Fr. Erik explained, connected the dots between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. By going straight from Jesus’ triumphal entry to his resurrection we missed out on how we got from one event to the other; we missed a big part of the story
Stories are important. They tell us and others who we are, what is important to us, what we believe. Stories connect us to our past, to each other as they ready us for the future by seeing where we want to be next.
When I had a summer job as a reporter for our local paper many years back I really enjoyed taking a little extra time with the folks I would be writing about. By delving a little deeper into their stories I learned better who they were and where they were coming from, so to speak. It made writing their stories so much easier and enjoyable. Listening to them a little longer than most reporters took, I learned that is was later in the interview that they would start to tell what, for me, were the more germinal things—they moved beyond mere facts to a truth about themselves that reciting just data didn’t accomplish.
Stories, whether personal, national, or of faith, can be told in a myriad of ways, not only through an oral or written recounting of events. Ever since people have had tools at hand to express themselves stories have also been told through art, architecture, poetry, music, and food. All these ways allow stories to be shared not only with the intimate group or community at hand, but even foreigners, outsiders, can participate and share in them.
The story of who we are as Catholic-Christians is our most important story—it’s the greatest story ever told. I enjoy reading through the Bible, not just the Gospels, to hear the story of who Jesus is, to hear God tell us of his astounding story of his great love for us. A story doesn’t have to tell all the events or details for us to understand and see the heart and core and truth of the story. It’s how we absorb it into our lives that is crucial. Do we simply listen and say, “Oh, that’s nice,” and move on to something else? Or do we stop and ponder it, live it, and want to retell it ourselves?
One thing I really look forward to on Easter Sunday is how the creed is replaced with everyone renewing their baptismal promises. This is a story of our faith, reminding us of who we now are, as we get to answer for ourselves what was spoken on our behalf for those of us baptized as infants.
Another story I enjoy hearing at Easter is the Easter Sequence. Sequences, once common, have been whittled down to a handful since the Council of Trent—Easter, Pentecost, (both obligatory) as well as Corpus Christi, the Funeral Mass, and a later one for the Seven Sorrows of Mary. These sequences, through music and poetry, beautifully encapsulate a part of our Christian story.
While Easter Sunday has passed for this year, keep your ears at the ready for Pentecost where the Sequence begins: Come Holy Ghost, send down those beams, which sweetly flow in silent streams from Thy bright throne above…
Happy Easter—He Is Risen. Buona Pasqua—Egli È Risorto.
If your parish did not sing the Easter Sequence here’s a link to the Sequence being sung in Latin, accompanied by the text in both English and Latin.