Pastor’s Piece – March 21

I have the feeling that we like to force the hand of good things. There are bars with St. Patrick’s decorations up as soon as March begins, in the attempt to expand the good times of this day long feast. We get the start on celebrating Christmas earlier than ever, to the point that we have no desire to even finish out the Christmas Season. Now that our evenings are basking in the glow of Daylight Savings Time, it seems like we decided Spring would start last week. Regardless, of what our clocks say, Spring has finally arrived. The sun crosses the equator today. On this Vernal Equinox we enjoy a little over 12 hours of sunlight. (Our equinox is not quite an equal split between night and day because we’re over 30 degrees north of the equator.) This is significant to the life of faith because the first full moon from this date forward is when we find the nearest Sunday and declare it Easter.

The logic in determining this feast is a combination of old and new. Why not use the same date as we do for most other feasts? Because the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, the day that Moses sets from Passover, is going to be different for us each year. They use a lunar calendar, and we use a solar calendar. Secondly, the importance of our week and especially that of Sunday comes from Holy Week. The most important days of Holy Week are the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (beginning at the Vigil). You might have noticed that Sunday is a part of the following week, the first day of Easter Week. True, but this is also a good example by what we mean by Sunday being not only the first day of the week and creation, but also an eighth day, a day that marks the time of the new creation of sanctifying grace.

The power of the Resurrection infuses our era with a new capacity of pleasing God, attaining blessedness and living forever. This is why the Church wants us to regard every Sunday as a little Easter, a way of remembering that we go about life differently now. Speaking of a different time, over the years a great
frustration of being your pastor is that we put a lot of effort, time and energy getting you ready for the liturgical crescendo of Holy Week (especially the Triduum) throughout the weeks of Lent and then, nobody is here. Not only do the Jews and us have a different calendar, but so do we and the public schools in Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier Counties. They love to plan for the children to have their Spring Break during our Holy Week. So, because so many of you are blessed with the means and free time to vacation at that week, I have very few participants and volunteers for the unique and rich liturgies of the sacred season.

Ironically, everybody was around last year, but the Church wasn’t doing anything. Perhaps this year things will be different? Different in that, you’re still around, and different, in that the parish will be active. So, I invite you to consider making time to attend our Holy Thursday, Lord’s Last Supper Mass, 7:30pm, Good Friday’s, Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, 3:00pm, and the Easter Vigil, Saturday night at 8:30pm (April 1-3).

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy