By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC
On Holy Thursday morning, I had staked out a spot in the hinterlands of my parish’s parking lot so that I could burn a concoction of cotton balls soaked with the holy oils of the past year.
As the can heated up and the fire licked at the stick I used to poke the cotton balls, one of our parish’s homeless guests heading for the lunch window asked me, “Do the church know what you’re doin’”?
What I was doing wasn’t really all that important. As I tended the fire, I pondered all the ordinary deeds of goodness and service going on in our parish complex on that sunny morning. As another parish’s food bus pulled up with donations, there were people in the kitchen preparing a lunch for the weekly senior bingo; women in the church were cleaning and getting ready for services of the Triduum, the three days of prayer from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday.
Two guys mowed the grass; volunteers got the sandwich window ready for our guests who were gathering under the pavilion. It was an ordinary day at the parish during the extraordinary days of the Triduum.
While the high holy days in the Catholic Church momentarily lift us out of ordinary time into deep mystery, their grace impels us throughout the year. The Paschal Mystery is more than a three-day event.
We are called continually to service, to communal prayer, to share in the passion of our brothers and sisters, and to be credible witnesses of the Resurrection.
The fire in the can had consumed the oil; the carafes were in the sacristy, ready for the chrism, oil of catechumens, and oil of the sick. The Gospel mandate of love, service, and justice would flow through the rest of the year.
I left the parking lot pondering the many places the rhythm is repeated throughout our parishes, cities, and society, praying that I’d be ready to see the mystery of faith continue to live in our good people.