Pastor: Rev. William A. Eddy
PALM SUNDAY OR PASSION SUNDAY?
When I was growing up this Sunday was called Palm Sunday. It marked the beginning of Holy Week with the blessing and distribution of palm branches to the faithful. The palm branches were to be placed in a place of honor in every home. It was the day when the Christian world celebrated Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. The 5th Sunday of Lent was called Passion Sunday because it marked the beginning of Passiontide. During the last two weeks of Lent the statues were veiled and the liturgy focused on the passion and death of the Lord. After the Second Vatican Council the church began to refer to Palm Sunday as Passion Sunday. In today’s liturgy the triumphant and joyful entrance of Christ the King is contrasted with the heart breaking events of the Lord’s redeeming passion. Whether we call it Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday does not matter. What really matters is that this Sunday we are reminded of those holy days when Jesus accomplished our salvation.
Jesus was a keen observer of human nature. All four evangelists point out that Jesus realized his hour was fast approaching. His actions had so angered the Jewish religious authorities that it was only a matter of time before they destroyed him. Under those circumstances most people would have avoided Jerusalem altogether or slipped into town under the cover of darkness. Instead, Jesus goes to some lengths to arrange his procession into the city. If anything the authorities were even more hostile after Palm Sunday.
Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem in a way he saw as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. The great warrior kings triumphantly entered their cities on war horses. With pomp and circumstance they led their victorious armies. Jesus remembered the prophet Zechariah who announced that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem astride the foal of a beast of burden. This Messiah would bring about peace through his own suffering. By riding the colt into the city Jesus proclaimed his Messiahship.
Once again this year we are invited to relive the great moments that led to our redemption. We are invited to examine our lives in light of the Lord's loving passion and death which led to his resurrection and leads to ours'.
This week begins the holiest season of the year, the end of Lent and the days of the Paschal Triduum. Lent ends as the Church begins the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday night. This is to be a time of peace, prayer and vigil. The Mass of the Lord's Supper recalls the institution of the sacraments of Holy Orders and the Eucharist and the Lord's command of loving service to his apostles. Our Catholic community continues the tradition of pilgrimage to the local churches in honor of the Lord's vigil in the garden.
The celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday calls us to witness the mystery of God's love for us. We venerate the cross on which hung the savior of the world. We may reverently receive the Body and Blood of Christ, the promise of a heavenly banquet.
Holy Saturday night we celebrate the Easter Vigil. On this holy night we bless the new fire and light the paschal candle, the symbol of the Risen Christ with us. In the liturgy of the Word we hear the story of our salvation, the history of God's people - our ancestors in the faith. Our candidate will come forward for full acceptance into the Church. With him we have an opportunity to die and rise again with Christ who saves us. We witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. We joyfully celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with our newest member in full communion with the mystical Body of Christ throughout the world.
This year on the Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 27th, the Church will canonize two new saints. Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Saint John Paul II will be recognized for their holiness and courage as Shepherds of the flock of Christ. In honor of this celebration and the Feast of Divine Mercy, our church will remain open after the Noon Mass, and the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed. Confessions will be heard from 2 till 3 PM. And the chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Litany of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 3 PM. Please join us for this celebration of our Savior’s Divine Mercy.