He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
My Triduum was very holy, thanks, even in spite of being on-call and working. Holy Thursday, I went to a parish reconciliation service in town, presided by an auxiliary bishop, and went to confession. Did not get to go to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, but watched the one in Washington at the National Shrine. Friday, my friend at work and I went to (we thought) the Stations of the Cross at a different church (this city is blessed with beautiful churches, this one is a block away from the city’s strip joints), which also turned out to be the Liturgy of Good Friday. This was the first time I’ve gone to this Liturgy since my wife had cancer-she still has stamina issues. Friday night we ate cioppino, which is a tomato based soup with mussels, shrimp and clams (in the old days this was made with all the scraps, so it’s really a recollection of eating the throw-aways), and then watched the Stations of the Cross from the Colusseum in Rome. We even kept Holy Saturday fairly holy-we ran two errands, and then watched The Passion of the Christ, back to back with The Greatest Story Ever Told, and that’s what I wanted to comment on-the contrast.
Now, I realize that people had different sensibilities when The Greatest Story was made. So I’m not going to comment on the gore content between the two. The Passion is difficult to watch, and always brings me to tears. But The Greatest Story seems to ignore most of the suffering Our Lord did, and I believe that to be a Protestant thing. Growing up, I always knew Christ died on the cross, and that he suffered, but until I became Catholic, I didn’t really appreciate what he really went through. I also didn’t realize what horror His mother went through, because Protestants pretty much keep Mary in the closet after Jesus’ 12th birthday. Because of the Stations of the Cross I attended on Friday, I focused, while watching The Passion, on Mary. The priest at the Stations of the Cross entreated us, encouraged us to meditate on Mary’s suffering, a mother’s concern for her son, so when watching the Passion, that’s where my thoughts focussed.
Especially poignant was how, because of the reverence Jews place on blood, Mary and Mary of Magdala wiped the stones at the site of Jesus’ brutal scourging. The memories she had of Jesus as a child, and as a carpenter. And I listened to Jesus’ 7 words, because Friday night, we watched part of a presentation of the Seven Last Words of Jesus by Fr. Robert Barron, and finished it Saturday morning. It’s a traditional Tre Ore service.
So after an early dinner Saturday, we watched The Greatest Story. One thing really struck me. Have you ever seen this?
Sorta looks like Max Von Sydow, and I can see why they used his image, because the theology of The Greatest Story is lacking. It presents the words of Jesus, but sometimes, totally inappropriate as to location or setting. And other than the Nativity scene, I think the movie pretty much ignored Mary. I’m not criticizing the message, at all. Just the presentation.
So Sunday was pretty much the same-we went to early Mass, and had a great breakfast, watched a little sports (we ignore March Madness), watched a nen episode of Catholicism, and called it a weekend.