Don’t experience the Holy Triduum only on a screen ... rediscover your home as a domestic church.
In times of confinement due to the coronavirus, your home will be your church. How will you celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus? Luckily, you have the Mass broadcast on television or the Internet, but is that enough?
In recent weeks, many parishes (including mine) have created YouTube channels and begun broadcasting live Masses and other celebrations. Plus, thank God, you can also watch television broadcasts of the pope’s Masses, and of Masses celebrated by other priests on Catholic television stations.
Now, we your priests know very well how much you miss participating in a real liturgy. We know that you like to watch the Mass “live” from your parish church or from the Vatican, and make a spiritual communion of desire. We are delighted to be able to help in this way in these difficult times.
But, at the same time, we are very aware that any transmission on a screen is only a substitute made up of appearances, lacking the essentials.
The Lord is truly present among you
In these circumstances, we prepare to enter the Easter Triduum. What sadness not to be able to celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week together, with our parish community, in our beloved church, when we are so much in need of this grace in this time of trial!
True, we will be able to follow these celebrations through our television screen, our computer, or even our mobile phone. But, deep down, we know well that it’s not the same as a celebration that brings real people together, in a real place, with the real presence of the Lord.
Careful! I am not saying that you shouldn’t watch live transmissions on your screens. Of course you should watch them. We mustn’t put in opposition the different possibilities we have to sanctify ourselves, despite our confinement. They should all contribute to our good. But I have an important question to ask you: Do you really think it’s enough to follow the liturgy on the screen?
I implore you: this year, don’t experience the Holy Triduum only on a screen, even if the transmission is of the highest quality. Organize, at home, family prayers and celebrations with the people around you. Two or three people are enough for you to convene a prayer assembly, with Jesus present (Cf. Matthew 18:20).
I implore you: respond to Jesus’ wish
Meditating on the Palm Sunday Gospel, I was struck by this phrase pronounced by the Lord Jesus: “I wish to celebrate the Passover in your house with my disciples” (Matthew 26:18). Take this phrase as if Christ were personally addressing it to you. This year, Jesus wants to organize the Passover in your house.
This spring full of trials, your house is going to become your church. This is what happened during the first centuries of Christianity: Christians gathered to pray and celebrate in their homes. They didn’t have churches; their homes were their churches. Even a Roman basilica, as its name suggests, was the home of a prince. The term “house” has come to be used to describe the largest house in which the faithful gathered to celebrate the Eucharist, “Domus Ecclesiae,” “House of the Church.”
This year, the holy days of Easter have become an opportunity (tragic and painful, but no less of an opportunity for that) to rediscover your home as a domestic church, a place of presence and action of the living God. It’s true that if there is no priest available, you won’t be able to participate in the celebration of the Mass. However, in these exceptional circumstances, in addition to personal and family prayers and the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church has provided for you to be able to organize an authentic celebration of the Word.
The Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday) is a liturgical moment par excellence. During these three days—wherever we may be, whatever we do—the liturgy of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord unfolds in its sacred drama.
This year we won’t be able to experience the great moments of the Easter liturgy gathered in a church, but Easter will take place anyway. Where? In your home. The fact that we cannot be in a church does not prevent us from celebrating in the Church, with one heart and one spirit, with all the baptized who celebrate the Passion, death, and Resurrection of their Savior. Do we perhaps need to rediscover this truth? Can it be one of the good things (surely not the only one) that God will bring out of this trial, to benefit us and our salvation?
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Therefore, I implore you: you can watch the transmissions of the cerebrations on your screens, but truly celebrate the Easter Triduum at home! Make time for personal prayer and reading of the Bible. Above all, organize, prepare and live a true family liturgy every day, centered on a celebration of the Word.
Every day of the Easter Triduum, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, with the collaboration of Magnificat, Aleteia is going to publish a complete guide so that you can organize the celebration at home. Please share this article with all your friends.
Therefore, it is up to you if this year Easter will be celebrated at your home and not only on the screen.
Let’s lift up our hearts! Let us prepare our home as a domestic church. Respond positively to Jesus’ request: “I want to celebrate the Passover in your house.” Answer “yes, please!”