The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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The Paschal Triduum – Tenebrae

Friday, March 29, 2013
As well as its three liturgical high points - the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the Liturgy of the Passion, and the Easter Vigil - these three days of the Triduum building up to Easter also see the continuation of the regular round of daily prayers which we call the Divine Office (or Liturgy of the Hours). The public celebration of the Office punctuates the days of monastic and religious communities such as Blackfriars, and during the Triduum it takes a special form - stark, austere, capturing something of the horror of Christ's suffering, and our response to it. During these days, the morning offices of Matins and Lauds are celebrated together and called Tenebrae (which means 'darkness' in Latin): no lights are used other than the altar candles and a special candlestick, on which the candles are gradually extinguished as the office progresses (though for the sake of those who wish to join us for its celebration, it's not as dark outside as it could be!). Read more

The Paschal Triduum – Celebration of the Lord's Passion

Friday, March 29, 2013
On the afternoon of Good Friday, recalling the time of day when, so the Scriptures tell us, Jesus died on the Cross, the Church gathers to commemorate that climactic moment in the history of our salvation. As we heard in the homily this afternoon at Blackfriars (a recording of which you can hear below) we are confronted with the shocking truth that God has died for us. We venerate the Cross as a sign that we recognise, in this instrument of humiliating suffering, Jesus' triumph - quite literally, his exaltation, as he had hinted several times in the course of his ministry (cf. John 8:28, 12:32). Read more

The Paschal Triduum - Introduction

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Paschal Triduum - Maundy Thursday

Thursday, March 28, 2013
Tonight, in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we commemorated the very institution of the Mass itself, when Jesus gave to his disciples under the appearance of bread and wine his very body and blood: that body which was to hang the next day upon the cross, that blood which poured from his side for the redemption of the human race. Read more

Tuesday of Holy Week: Betrayed and abandonned by his closest friends

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Readings: Is 49:1-6; Ps 71(70):1-2.3-4a.5-6b.15.17; St John 13:21-33.36-38

We are approaching the times of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the readings are telling us more about the mood of the times that preceded Jesus’ trial. The ‘plot is slowly thickening’ and a clear outcome is taking shape: Jesus is living his last moments on earth.
During the last days, we heard the reasons why the Pharisees and the chief priests wanted Jesus dead: “it was better that one man died instead of many (in a case he would have started a revolution against the Romans who would then have taken away the land) … and also he had called himself the son of God.” But it was not only the chief priests and the Pharisees that would played a role in his arrest.Worse than that, his closest friends are going to betray him and hand him over to the chief priests.

In today’s Gospel, when Jesus says: “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it”, he did not only mean to show them who was going to betray him, but also that it was a close person, one with whom he shared food. Later when Peter professes his fidelity, Jesus tells him that he would also betray him. The entire story is already sad as Jesus feels that his last hour is approaching. But much sadder, he knows that those who should have stood by him and protected him are the ones to betray him.

In a few words, today’s readings and in the last day’s readings we understand the escalation of the events that led to Jesus. It was not because he was a criminal. It was partly because a few people did not like what he was doing and others (his friends) did not stood by him. The story that happened 2,000 years ago, still repeats itself every time human beings unjustly oppress others and many stand and watch it happen. Both are co-operators in the propagation of evil. Every time we, Christians, stand and watch the innocent oppressed, the just persecuted because of their actions, and do not intervene, we are doing exactly what Jesus' disciples did when he was about to be killed: because we claim, like St Paul, that we would die for Christ, but when he is persecuted in the poor, in the hungry, in the refugee, in the homeless, in the unjustly condemned, we tend to deny him.

May today’s readings keep on reminding us that, as Christians, we are called to action, not to be ‘neutral observers’ when evil is being given a seat in our midst.

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Monday of Holy Week: The fragrance of life after death

Monday, March 25, 2013
Readings: Is. 42:1-7, Ps. 26:1-3, 13-14; John 12:1-11 Read more

Palm Sunday of Our Lord's Passion

Sunday, March 24, 2013
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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent - To fear or not to fear?

Saturday, March 23, 2013
John 11:45-56 Read more

Stations of the Cross: The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross

Friday, March 22, 2013

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Lent week 5, Thursday. Mad, Bad or God?

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Gen 17:3-9; Ps 105:4-9; Jn 8:51-59. Read more
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