My dear brother Knights,
Someone once said that if they believed what Catholics say they believe about the Eucharist; they would crawl to the Eucharist on their hands and knees. Sadly, many Catholics take the greatest gift of the Eucharist, and many other blessings and graces for granted. One of the things that this current pandemic should teach us is there is nothing from God that we should take for granted.
At the end of this Lent we are about to keep is the most important part of the Church year, the Paschal Triduum. There is no more important time in the Church because of what these three days mean to us as Christians. First, and foremost, these days commemorate the greatest gift of love God has ever given the human family, the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. It was from the side of Christ crucified that water and blood flowed, the font of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist. It was in this moment that salvation lost by the sin of one man was restored by the obedient sacrifice of the God-made-man. It was in Christ’s resurrection that the hope of eternal life was given to us.
In addition to what God has done for us, in this sacred action God has extended to us His covenant: He will be our God if we will be His people. The readings of the Easter Vigil beautifully express the history of God extending Himself to us in covenant. For our part, we are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. The Church calls us to celebrate this Paschal Triduum with sacrifice, prayer, fasting and works of charity, and finally on Easter with shouting out, “Christ is risen! Alleluia! Indeed, He is risen! Alleluia!”
We dare not receive this message with apathy or indifference. If we believe in the core of our Christian faith, we should approach on our hands and knees. This three-day memorial is not meant to look like any other day. The Church asks all who can participate in the tripartite liturgy of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday. Will our participation be one of merely going to Easter Mass as if it’s any other Sunday? Or will we immerse ourselves in prayer each day, attending the liturgy on Thursday night, Friday afternoon or evening, and Saturday night, keeping the Paschal Fast as we are able on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and participating in the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday? If being a disciple of Christ is more than just something we wear as Sunday clothes, if it is truly at the heart of being Knights of Columbus, then the Paschal Triduum should be something that sets the whole rhythm of Holy Week, indeed of our lives.
The Elect who are preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil, the candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church, the young people preparing to receive their first Holy Communion or Confirmation are looking for examples of faith-filled Catholics to emulate. May we who bear the title “Knight” be virtuous, faithful, unwavering examples of disciples, centering our lives, vocations, and labors in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
May God inspire us to take our place in the Church when Holy Week comes. May He bless the Elect and those preparing for Holy Communion or Confirmation as they journey to the altar of the Crucified and Risen Christ. May our Lord bless you and your loved ones during this holy season.
Vivat Jesus! Blessed Michael McGivney, pray for us!