This is Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The procession recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna. It is during Mass that we hear the Passion Narrative according to St. Mark. In it, Mark tells us how Jesus is the suffering Messiah. He has come to save the people. When questioned about being the Messiah by the High Priest Jesus’ response is “I am.” For Mark, Jesus’ identity is fully revealed on the Cross.
Throughout Lent, we have been following Christ to Jerusalem towards the Cross. Holy Week marks the Church’s annual celebration of the events of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This final week of the journey becomes a time of intense prayer and leads us to solemnly to celebrate the Sacred Triduum; the holy three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
On Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in which we remember the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood given for us and we clearly see the connection it has to service through the washing of feet, the Mandatium. After the Mass, we are invited to spend time in quiet adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples were asked to keep our Lord company in the garden of Gethsemane.
Good Friday follows at 7 p.m. We again read the Passion Narrative, this time from the Gospel of St. John. Then we venerate the Cross on which hung our salvation. There are no celebrations of the sacraments on this day, Communion is received having been consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the evening before. It is a solemn and somber time when we remember that the Christ died to save us from sin.
Finally, we come to Holy Saturday and the Celebration of the Easter Vigil at 8 p.m. In the darkness, the light of the risen Christ shines out. We hear the ancient biblical stories of God saving His people. Then we hear about the empty tomb. It is a great moment in the life of the Church. Christ has conquered and the Glory of God shines brightly. All this leads to the joys of Easter Sunday Morning and scriptural account of the Resurrected Christ.
I would like to personally invite you and your family to come to the events of Holy Week. The Sacred Triduum this year will be at St. Patrick’s in Walnut. If you can not attend please consider reading the scriptures for those days and enter into the spirit of the week.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT: What does Holy Week mean for me? How is Jesus my savior? Do I have a sense that Christ suffered for me personally? Am I looking forward to new life, the spring or maybe eternal life?