Thursday, 31 March 2016

Meaning and Ritual

Last week during the Holy Week, I had to make a very difficult decision: attending the Easter vigil service in the local parish!  I normally resist, desist and assist in 'guarding the house' rather than attend the midnight vigil services.  I see no thrill in sitting and listening to a long sermon well past midnight, with no indication as to when it would conclude.  Then there are all those ceremonies, which honestly speaking, make not much sense to me. 

But I also know some or rather very many who love, really love to attend these services. While I prefer to attend a short and meaningful celebration of the Holy Mass or Service in the community itself, there are many who prefer to attend a long and boring service in the Parish.  If asked what did the Priest speak about during the sermon or what the Gospel was all about, they have no clue - just like the one giving the sermon!!

Something which was very meaningful and relevant for one age, soon becomes a ritual.  As time goes by the ritual overrides the meaning and there is none of the latter left  - or perceived.  But the ritual has now reached such a "popular" celebrity status that it is what matters.  Ask any of those attending the Easter vigil what the candle procession means, what it means when the priest dips the easter candle into the baptismal water, what it means when the Priest concludes with a double 'Alleluia!'... But they'd all be there in their finest linen and jewellery.  

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