Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. It is the only Sunday when we hear two passages from the Gospels. The first, during the Blessing of the Palms, commemorates the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the second, within the Liturgy of the Word, is the account of the Passion. This year, the Passion According to Mark is read. Our Celebration begins with the joyful cries of the crowds hailing Christ as King. Then it ends with the stark realization of what the kingship of Jesus is really about. I share with you the following reflection by Stephen S. Wibricht, CSC, STD (published by LTP).
The Lord’s entrance into the city of Jerusalem stands in marked contrast to the way in which he moves among crowds throughout the Gospel accounts. He generally tries to downplay their attention, focusing hearts instead on the works of healing wrought by his hands. He instructs his disciples to avoid places of honor at banquets and to humble themselves at all times. Why then this exalted form of entrance, complete with palm branches and cries of “Hosanna”? Jesus wants to root kingship in his imminent suffering and Death upon the Cross. To die for the sake of the world is what it means for Jesus to be king. Hosanna in the Highest!
As we enter into this most Holy Week of the Church Year, we leave Church in silence. In doing so, we strive to create a contemplative atmosphere in which we can begin to reflect more deeply [in silence] on the great mystery of our faith. I invite and encourage you to make it a priority to take part in as much of the Easter Triduum as possible. Please take note of the schedule in today’s bulletin. We will be celebrating a stational liturgy, meaning that we will move from place to place (using both our Churches for Occasional use and the main Parish Church).
The precedent for stational liturgies dates back to the fourth century and the practice of pilgrimage. Detailed descriptions of the rites date back to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the year 388 as recorded by a woman named Egeria. These are the earliest Holy Week practices in ancient Jerusalem that the Church has on record. On Holy Thursday, Christians celebrated Eucharist, gathered at the Mount of Olives and kept a night vigil until they returned to the city near dawn. The veneration of the True Cross – traditionally said to be found by Saint Helena around the year 326 – was held on Friday before Noon, followed by a three-hour Passion service. Another vigil followed for those young or strong enough to observe it. The Paschal Vigil, including the Baptism of children and adults (called Catechumens then) was celebrated on Saturday evening. These early liturgical practices in Jerusalem eventually expanded to the surrounding Christian world. By the fifth century, the prominent churches in Rome and Constantinople adopted these rites, which gradually spread to other local churches in both East and West. The three days of Triduum we celebrate in the Church are based on these early rites. They are rich in symbols and powerful and moving rituals. If you have never attended the Easter Triduum, please consider doing so this year.
Rice Bowls may be returned to any of the Church Sites during the Triduum Liturgies. Containers will be at the Church entrances so that you may easily place your Rice Bowls in them. Thank you for your generosity in your almsgiving this Lenten Season.
A few individuals asked if I might be able to print the Suggested Penances that were part of our Vicariate Communal Penance Liturgies in the bulletin. Since most people turned in their Order of Worship, and not everyone remembered the details of the penances, especially those with Scripture passages, I printed the Suggested Penances for Adults below:
· Pray Psalm 32, 51, 95, 103, or 130, and reflect on its meaning in your life.
· Make a call to someone who is ill or alone. Plan a visit or bring a meal.
· During the next week, spend a half hour in quiet prayer.
· Refrain from eating out one day and, from the money you save, make a commitment to bring food to a local food pantry, or make a donation to the Rice Bowl or the Soup Kitchen.
· Identify a person whom you have offended by your unkind words, apologize to them, and pray for them each day for a week.
· Attend one or more extra Lenten prayer experiences or liturgies that are going on the Lent at your parish or at a neighboring parish.
· Reflect on one of the following Scripture readings and ask yourself how it applies to your life:
o Romans 5:6-11
o Psalm 19
o Romans 6: 2-14
o Psalm 130
o Ephesians 2: 4-10
o Mark 12: 28-34
o Romans 5:8-14
o Mark 2: 1-12
Please take special note of the April Liturgical Minister Schedule and Calendar in today’s bulletin. You may notice that Tuesday Evening Masses at the Saint John the Baptist Church site continue throughout the Easter Season (with the exception of the Tuesdays when Evening Prayer is listed). If you have any dates that you are unavailable in May, please call them into the parish office as that schedule will be published shortly.
One last note. Big Raffle tickets [sold and unsold] are due back in Parish Office by the weekend of April 18/19. If you have not bought one yet, please consider doing so as 50% of the proceeds are returned to the parish. Our parish has 1500 tickets and we still have quite a few to sell. Please stop by the Parish Office if you would like some to purchase or sell. The next time they will be available after Mass is on the weekend of April 11/12.
Blessings on this Holy Week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ