From the desk of Fr Stephen
Today is Passion (Palm) Sunday. It is the beginning of Holy Week. For me, Holy Week has always been my favorite week of the year. I know people get excited about Christmas, but liturgically, Easter is much greater. Palm Sunday celebrates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. At this point, the people were thinking of Jesus as a royal king. They took palm branches off trees and placed them on the ground to honor him. Taking the form of a humble person, Jesus rode on the back of a donkey. He invites us to imitate his example and humble ourselves as we go about our lives.
As much as you can, I want to encourage you to enter into the sacredness of this week. The church gives us three days, the Triduum, in which to immerse ourselves. Each day is set up to bring forth a deeper love of Jesus and appreciation of how much he did for us. On Thursday, we celebrate the First Eucharist or Jesus’ Last Supper. At this supper, Jesus disrobes and washes his Apostle’s feet with humility, and He invites us to do the same. Jesus says, be humble as I am humble. He says, “As I have washed your feet, now you must wash one another’s feet.”
On Friday, we celebrate the Passion, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us. Again, Jesus humbles himself for us. He becomes the object of ridicule, He is made to suffer much pain in his body and spirit, but he does this with utter love and commitment to his Father on our behalf. He is happy to give his life for us so we might live. Good Friday is a solemn day, and we will have our service at 3:00 p.m. commemorating the time Jesus died on the cross.
Finally, on Saturday, we can once again shout out Alleluia! Jesus has risen, it is true. I love this night above all others, most especially because of the new Easter/Paschal candle. Each year a new candle is provided, and we have a solemn blessing of the candle, and then light is distributed throughout the church. I love to see everyone holding a lit candle reminding us of the light of Christ within each of us. I, then, will proclaim the Exultet, the song we sing in praise of the lit Paschal candle. I love that song. Finally, we will be listening to and reflecting on the readings provided for us in the liturgy. Every year we are reminded of the journey the chosen people took to get to Jesus’ coming into the world. These readings are a powerful reminder for us of the ancient history of Israel. So, then, I invite you to let this special week nourish you. I wish you all a pleasant week.