Happy Easter! It's been a long journey over the 40 days of Lent, and now, almost unbelievably, it is here. The Lord has risen.He has risen indeed. Alelluia!
After the ignominy of seeming defeat which we witnessed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ which was screened on Good Friday on Sony Pix at 9 p.m. we were almost swamped in unrelieved gloom. Still a CD of Goan Lenten Motets saw us through,with the Chinchinim choir, directed by Fr Romeo Monteiro, intoning the sonorous songs. We even had the delight of listening to the St. Cecelia choir of Rachol seminary performing the concert of sacred music at the magnificent church of St. Ann at Talaulim, Tiswadi, Goa.
The Archbishop Fr Felipe Neri Ferrao gave a sprightly message on the occasion observing that the festival of sacred music allows us to ontemplate on the passion and death of Christ. He also lamented that the practice today in many churches is to use contemporary musical idioms for worship. This he felt was distracting and did not serve the purpose. He recalled how the Gregorian chant unified the Catholic church under Charlemagne. Standing for Maundy Thursday Mass at Pallotti House, Chicalim, I was reminded of the Archbishop's words - when the hymn preceding the washing of the feet was set to a swinging country and western tune! After the solemn homily it sounded so out of place. 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do'!
I was also wondering about whether there were any female apostles -and would Father wash their feet too? For a pluralistic society no form of worship can be complete without accepting the place of women in the life of Jesus. Do we not have to recognize this? The Lord's mother, Mary; Mary Magdalene, the women of Galilee were all there on the journey to Calvary. It is unlikely Jesus did not have any female followers. Or is it that this is an edited portion of 'History.' On one occasion, the person I sat next to on a flight, was immersed in a book called The Thirteenth Apostle. I think I have also blogged on it here.
Interestingly, in a local newspaper during Holy Week a young girl had sent a painting of the last Supper with 3 women as apostles. Happily, the paper carried the painting. Exclusion is often internalised. Just as there were no girl altar servers in the past - and there are now, we hope this thinking will reach to the apostles too.
The recent pronouncements by the Pope about women priests, may indicate the church is on the backfoot. There are websites like womenpriests.org from where this visual is taken. Time will tell.