Pastoral Message – March 21, 2021
Do you ever wake up with a song playing in your brain? Sometimes I wake up to pop music history. Sometimes these tunes have accompanied dreams; sweet or not so sweet. Sometimes, it’s just a line or two in a song that just loops over and over and over. I’ve recently awakened to the Buggles, the Cure, ABBA, Patsy Cline, Beyonce, Credence Clearwater Revival, Queen, Glenn Miller, Skeeter Davis, Marshall Crenshaw, the Dead Kennedys, and Eres Tu by Mocedades. My unconscious mind is eclectic and doesn’t always exercise good taste. So these songs can hang around in my head for hours unfortunately.
But every now and then, the music in my head makes sense in a weird way. Like last night, I was studying up on the readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent when I fell asleep. I was thinking about the 2nd reading from Hebrews 5:7;
“…when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears…”
So early this morning I woke up to Carly Simon’s song “Anticipation” playing in my brain, while thinking of a bottle of Catsup (or Ketchup). The song and the Ketchup didn’t really matter. But the word “anticipation” did. “Anticipation” as a concept has been with me all day.
In these last days of Lent we are anticipating many things. We remember Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, anticipating his Passion and Death, possibly with cries and tears. Jesus was anticipating what was to come. We anticipate remembering the nightmarish experiences of Peter denying Christ, and Mary at the foot of the Cross. We remember the dream that had upset Pontius Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19) so much that she tried to interfere in Jesus’ trial. We anticipate the somber Good Friday liturgy and the humility required to venerate the Cross. We anticipate the Vigil of Easter which reminds us of the greatest of paradoxes – “O necessary sin… O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer” (from the Exsultet sung at the Easter Vigil). And we anticipate Easter Sunday morning when we celebrate God’s great love for us in His risen Son, Jesus Christ.
Now, all of this aforementioned anticipation is churchy and liturgical. But daily we anticipate trials, tribulations, passion and death in our own lives. Such anticipation can induce worry, fear, and guilt. We more readily anticipate joys, and celebrations and pleasures. But such anticipation can induce shallow hedonism, bratty attitudes and a sense of entitlement. What we need to integrate into our behavior and thinking as Catholic Christians is the anticipation that is faith! Faith that God is going to impart His grace upon us as we remember, as we repent, as we convert, as we celebrate. Our conscious mind needs to focus all the more fully on the mystery and truths that Lent, Holy Week and the Triduum impart. As Scripture reminds us “think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
And then, over time, and with God’s grace we’ll awaken to Psalms and canticles and songs that aren’t just pop – that are around for a only short time – but music that encourages hope, faith and love; music that can transcend our experiences here in our earthly coil, joining us to the eternal, celestial singing of the Saints and Angels.
God bless y’all!