Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saint Bernard - Easter Vigil 2011 - Eric

What's Happening:
The end of Mass Chaos. The stats are easy to recount: 56 churches visited in a liturgical year, 48 of different people went with us, there was an average of 7.6 people per visit, just a few over a hundred blog posts, about 14 tons of food consumed, and a whole lot of time socializing with old friends and new ones.

Each church has it's own flavor, and it's own beauty. My thinking was affected by the surroundings of each parish and it's congregation. The most amazing thing was the cultural differences, it was not something I was expecting, and it was uplifting to see how the Catholic church is the same ... but different.

I am not the same man I was one year ago today. I believe that my friends would agree about this. This was not a 'tough' thing to do, but it was not easy for someone like myself. I am not the only one who thought it went too long, but we got through, and the difficulty added to the delight of the journey, or at least the end. I also see how my friends are not the same either.

The journey had two defining moments, the first was at our fourth visit, Assumption (22nd & U), we were still a little unsure whether we were really going to do this or not, when the Father Keiter set us all on fire with his Homily, "your job is to get each other to Heaven." The second was at Saint Peter's (28th and Leavenworth), our 28th parish. Father Cook's Homily on the new Missal caused a sharp divide amongst the Mass Chaos'ers, but instead of breaking us apart, we all shared, we all listened, and we all respected, though we did not agree ... I will not be surprised if, in retrospect, it wasn't the one of the most important events that occurred to me in my life.

Ben, Nonnie, Paul, Frank, Marla, Joe, Marilou, Maggie, me, Lindsay, Frank, and Brianne.
Since it's the last post, we should feel free to express our normal selves.

Location and Architecture:
Saint Bernard 3601 North 65th Street, Omaha. What a pretty finish to our journey. The church was decorated for Easter and painted beautifully. I loved the moment of the lights going down (pitch dark), then one flame in the back, and the church being slowly lit by the candles each of us was holding. The way the interior was painted gave a feeling of space and (I thought) the ancientness of the (big C) Church.






If you'd like to see the rest of my pictures from Saint Bernard, you can click here.

"Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified." Matthew 28:5

It's a lot of fear, finding the tomb empty. What does it mean? The thrill of the Ressurection, dare we even hope that we too can join Jesus in eternal life. Just three days prior He took our rightful place on the cross, like Peter we are prone to deny Him when convenient, and it was our sins put Him there. Yet here we are facing an empty tomb, just as the Marys were, and wondering what does it mean.

I, too, seek Jesus the crucified, I seek Jesus the raised, I seek Jesus the son of God. Though this is what I do, I am often afraid. I'm afraid because I do not know what it means for my future. As a human, and a sinner, I know that I have every right to expect harsh judgment before the throne, and I know that I will have nothing to defend myself with, since I'm not even sure on some days that I'm doing the best I can do. I have reason to fear justice.

However to borrow a phrase from a song from a different season "a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices". OMG, the tomb is empty! I get goosebumps when I consider that instead of my just punishment, I will receive mercy and redemption. Indeed the last part of my life has been just that. My life is redemption. The tomb may be empty, but my life is full.

Peace, Eric

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