After Mass the other day, I was asked why the Easter (Paschal) Candle was burning. The answer is very simple. We are still in the Easter season. This Sunday is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The Easter Season will continue up until Pentecost Sunday. After Vespers (Evening Prayer), the candle will be put out and placed near the baptismal font to be lit only for baptisms and funerals. If you look closely at the candle, you will see two Greek letters. At the top is the letter “alpha”; at the bottom is the letter “omega.” They are the first and last letter of the Greek alpha and symbolize Jesus as the beginning and the end. In short, he is to be our all—our everything. So when you think about the use of the Easter Candle at baptisms and funerals, it makes perfectly good sense. At baptisms, we begin a new life here on earth with Jesus. At funerals, we end our earthly life hopefully still connected to Jesus and begin anew our heavenly life. Of course, we have to love Jesus to be with him in heaven. And how we do that Jesus says in today’s gospel: “Whoever has my commandments and observes (keeps) them is the one who loves me.”
May we do our best to always show our love for Father, Son and Holy Spirit so as to find real happiness.
“How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit!
He is indeed a good guide; and to think that there are some who will not follow him!”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars
“INSIDE OUR SACRED SPACE”
From the Latin word sacristra, meaning a room near the sanctuary or church entrance, this room contains the bread and wine, sacred vessels, the books, the vestments, everything needed in the celebration of the Mass. It is the location where the priests and ministers vest. The sacristy was part of the church since the first places of public worship were built in the fourth century. Here the sacred vessels are cleaned after Mass. In most sacristies there is a sacrarium, a sink that drains directly in the earth where water from cleaning the vessels is poured.
***This article “Inside Our Sacred Space” was originally published in the OSV Newsweekly, www. OSV.com, on January 8-14, 2017 and is used with permission of the author D.D. Emmons. ***