Up.

Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you

Dearest people of God in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

There is a consistent quality in what happens over these three days of the Pascal Triduum. It is the quality of “up.” Consider these few short excerpts from the Gospels:

Jesus tells His disciples: “We’re going up to Jerusalem. There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death.”

Matthew 20:18

he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”

Mark 14:13-15

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Mark 14:26

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him

Luke 23:33

Up to Jerusalem, in the upper room, up on the Mount of Olives, up to Golgotha, the place of The Skull. Jesus travels ever upward.

Each of these references have to do with going to a higher place, to going up. This is, my brothers and sisters, why Jesus embarked on this journey in fulfillment of His Father’s will. 

His journey was and remains so that we may be lifted up to God. 

It is so we might spread the word to humanity, held down in sin and despair – that Jesus, the Son of God died for you so you might be lifted up. Accept Him.

This is why, on this very night, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood. He did this so we might remain in His constant presence, sins forgiven, partakers in His very Body and Blood, in every Holy Mass lifted up to heaven till He brings everything to completion.

This is why, the final step in His journey was to be raised up – raised so that we may rejoice in both the forgiveness of our sins and the fact that the gates of heaven and resurrection have been opened up to us.

We have received what has been passed onto us. Let us then, on this night and throughout this Triduum, keep our eyes fixed upward, to the cross and to the promise of heaven opened up for us. Amen.

How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116:12-13

King David sat down to write a psalm, a hymn of thanksgiving. How appropriate that it be proclaimed this evening. 

On this very night, Jesus gifted us with means by which we remain in union with Him whether in good times or bad, whether celebrating or in danger. By this union with Jesus, we have the means and grace necessary to transcend all things. On this night Jesus took the bread and cup and left us His body and blood. On this night, Jesus left us the power to wipe away sin, to lose and to bind. On this night, Jesus gave to His Church a share in His ministerial priesthood so that His great grace, our source of strength and transcendence, might live on in a real and effective manner.

We receive His grace in a real and effective manner as we gather, in person or even remotely, before the altar. What is the altar? It is Jesus Himself. On this night Jesus gave us Himself as the altar, the sacrifice, and the priesthood that offers the sacrifice so that we might always remain part of, really full participants in His eternal transcendent reality.

It is interesting that on this night we read from John’s gospel. John focused completely on the nature of Jesus as transcendent. Transcendence is a rich word meaning “that which is divinely other and loftier, wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all known physical laws and rules.” John most aptly expresses the great truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is God. On this night Jesus provides us with Himself so that we might receive His grace and be pulled up into Him, to transcend with Him as sharers and partakers in His nature. To move beyond.

In repeating David’s hymn of thanksgiving, we acknowledge our deliverance in a lively, i.e., joy filled, expression of devotion, love, and gratitude. We must now, in this moment, lift our souls up to God. We are called to be a thankful people, thankful in the midst of every situation because we are not just in the here and now. In the midst of struggle, fear, and anxiety. In the here and now we are more than the here and now. We are transcendent beings whose eternity surpasses all.

David was once in great distress and danger, so much so that it almost drove him to despair. He seeks God and cries out to Him in that distress. David experiences God’s goodness and his prayers are answered. God heard him, pitied him, and delivered him. Note that David took care to acknowledge the goodness of God, even asking, ‘how could I possibly make a return to God for His goodness?’ He does it by taking up, as we are privileged to do at every Holy Mass, the cup of salvation. He vows to continue calling on the name of the LORD. God helped David to transcend his situational problems as a symbol of what God’s Son, a descendent of David, would do for us. Jesus’ gift to us is complete and eternal transcendence over problems, situations, sin, and death itself.

David certainly gave thanks, only understanding in shadows what we know fully. We know that God graciously delivers us from every trouble. His deliverance is beyond the here and now – and why the Eucharist is so important, for in our time before the altar we are pulled into God’s eternity. This is important! Our troubles are but for a time, but our assurance transcends. Jesus delivers us from the now to the forever. Draw strength from that brothers and sisters, all who partake at the Lord’s table and who share in Jesus’s transcendence. Amen!

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, 

you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Tonight, Jesus gave us the gift of the ministerial priesthood, the power therein to serve and forgive, His holy words and example, and His body and blood. He gave all that is needful for right praise and worship. He gave us all we need until He comes again. He gave it this very night.

Jesus left these wonderful things this night, not just because, but so that in them He would remain fully present and available to us. We are able to confess our sins in honesty and are reconciled to the community. We hear His words and see His example illustrated and taught so that we might live likewise. We have His body and blood, and through them unity with Jesus, oneness with He who only wishes to be one with us. He provided all this, this very night.

Jesus provided the ongoing and living opportunity for the faithful to encounter, learn from, praise, and worship Him. He left us the preeminent model of worship that his disciples are to follow this very night.

Jesus told us to gather – and here we are. He told us to learn from Him, to take up His yoke – and so we are ready. He told us to serve one another – and so we do. He told us to eat and to drink – and we partake. We gather, enter the Holy of Holies as one, and come into His presence. We find a unity with God that is at once comprehendible and similarly mysterious.

No matter where we worship – from a glorious looking church, to an auditorium, to a jungle hut – In this re-presentation of what Jesus did and modeled this night, Jesus pulls us into heavenly existence. This is what He left us this very night.

No matter how many people we see worshiping and praising together, from thousands to a handful – – Jesus wanted us to know that we are worshiping with the entirety of the Church throughout the world and the entirety of the heavenly host – all the angels and saints joined with us every time we come together. This is what He called us to do this very night.

In this memory, this remembrance of Jesus we are joined with Him in His eternal being. It isn’t just a photo or video from the past, but an entry into the eternal present. We touch our eternity with Jesus, and in that encounter find comfort, joy, and glory. We get a taste of what is to be for us, His disciples, this very night.

Jesus left us the gifts of this night so we would not remain stagnant. He gave us gifts to get us from where we are to where our possibilities are. 

Jesus moves us, in this worship, through these sacramental realities:

from sin and death / to eternal life

from corruption / to wholeness

from brokenness / to healing

from ignorance / to knowledge

from mere habits / to His way of living

from apartness / to presence

from aloneness / to community

from fear / to courage

from ordinary existence / to extraordinary glory

from earth / to heaven

This very night.

Join us for Holy Week and Easter in Schenectady

holy-week-easter-700

Please come and join us during Holy Week and Easter. Jesus looks forward to our company during Holy Week as we commemorate His passion and death for us. Having stood by Him through these trials we hold unto the promise that we will rise again with Him.

The schedule below notes all services for Passiontide, Holy Week, and Easter. Please remember that Holy Week is a week of fasting.

  • 4/13 – Palm Sunday: Blessing and Distribution of Palms. Service of Worship and Holy Communion, 9:30am
  • 4/15 – Holy Tuesday: Clergy Conference and Holy Mass of Chrism, St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Cathedral, Scranton
  • 4/17 – Maundy Thursday: Holy Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, 7pm
  • 4/18 – Good Friday: Good Friday Cross-walk at 10am. Church opens at noon for private devotions. Services at 1pm (Stations), 2pm (Lamentations), and 3pm (Opening of the Tomb), Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified at 7pm
  • 4/19 – Holy Saturday: Holy Saturday Liturgies – Blessing of new fire, holy water, renewal of baptismal promises, blessing of Easter baskets and food, 4pm
  • 4/20 – Solemnity of the Resurrection (Easter): Procession and Solemn High Holy Mass, 8am, Service at 10:30 Free Lunch on Sunday/Easter Breakfast 10:30am

Holy Week and Easter in Schenectady

A Friend needs you!

Someone’s in trouble and He needs you!

Imagine if a family member were to call and say, “I’m going through something, could you visit with me? It would really help. Please.” That’s exactly what happens during Holy Week. Jesus is facing the toughest week of His ministry on earth. He’s put it all out there, has told it like it is, and He’s being hunted down.

From the heights of adulation on Palm Sunday, to His last meal on Maundy Thursday, His agonizing death and burial on Good Friday, and His time in the tomb, He needs you to sit with Him, to reassure Him of your love and support. Most of His apostles have run off, the crowds are gone. You are the only family He has left. Our Lenten theme has centered on family. Jesus created us as Church, not to be an organization, but to be real family to Him and each other. We all need to step up in His time of need, so please come. He needs you this week.

Then, on Easter Sunday, come back. He wants you to celebrate with Him. Find the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and your heart filled. Don’t just look for an Easter church… Find the gift of salvation, love, community, family, the Word of God, and freedom with your Christian family at Holy Name of Jesus!

Holy Week and Easter service schedule

Sunday, April 1st: Palm Sunday

  • Blessing and Distribution of Palms, Worship Service, 9:30am.

Thursday, April 5th: Maundy Thursday

  • Reception of Holy Oils and Chrism, Holy Mass, Procession and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Stripping of the Altars, 7pm.
  • Private Devotion, 8:30 – 9pm.

Friday, April 6th: Good Friday

  • Church opens for private devotion, Noon.
  • Stations of the Cross, 1pm.
  • Bitter Lamentations, 2pm.
  • Opening of the Tomb, 3pm.
  • Liturgy of the Presanctified, 7pm.

Saturday, April 7th: Holy Saturday

  • Blessing of fire, holy water, renewal of baptismal promises, reading of the Exhortations, blessing of Easter foods/baskets, 4pm.

Sunday, April 8th: Solemnity of the Resurrection/Easter Sunday

  • Finding of the empty tomb, Resurrection procession, Holy Mass, 9:30am.
  • Easter Gathering/Święconka, 11am.

On behalf of Fr. Adam, the Parish Committee and with the deepest confidence in your love and support as members of the Christian family, I invite you to join us as we walk with and support our Lord through Holy Week and celebrate with Him at His resurrection.

— Deacon Jim