Today is a day of mourning and there are two places where this is most evident. One is in the kitchen. It is a day of fast and abstinence. The other is in your parish church. From the Gloria on Maundy Thursday to the Gloria on the Great Easter Vigil traditionally the organ (and subsequently all other instruments) are silent. Only the human voice rings out in any kind of music. Event he bells in the tower refuse to ring. The sanctuary is stripped bare, no flowers, perhaps the crosses are covered, the tabernacle doors hang open for there is nothing to contain within it. The sanctuary light is out. The altar clothes are missing. The church looks closed and abandoned. There will be no sacraments today except in emergencies. As part of our three day celebration (the Triduum) last night we celebrated the last supper, and later today we will mark his torture and death. Symbolically we relive that moment when Jesus dies and the world awaits to see what will happen. Can you imagine what the apostles are going through right now? Is Christ being mocked? Is he being crucified? Is he buried?
What will become of them? What will become of all they had begun?
Who could eat? Who could celebrate?
All is quiet.
The lines from one of my favorite Lenten songs:
Veiled in darkness is the Mount of Olives
and brook Cedron sadly murmurs by,
the pale moon behind the clouds is hiding
not a star is shining in the sky.
Why is Mount of Olives in deep sorrow?
Why is all the earth in trembling throws?
Do not ask, oh! shed thy tear with Jesus,
to His cross in sweat of blood He goes.
"Unto death my heart is filled with sorrow
and my aching heart implores relief."
Lips divine are seeking consolation.
His disciples leave Him to His grief.