From the Pastor’s Desk: March 29, 2015
Today we celebrate Palm Sunday– the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday is both the ending of five weeks of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. We are about to enter and celebrate the heart of our faith– the Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. With Palm Sunday we begin the holiest of weeks and we are invited to enter that celebration with a right attitude- with an ever greater faith and devotion to the mystery of God’s love we will celebrate.
Our regular Mass schedule will continue until Tuesday. On Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, priests of our diocese- with the bishop and the faithful- will gather for the Annual Chrism Mass. During the Mass, the bishop will bless the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick, and will consecrate the Sacred Chrism. A part of the celebration is the Renewal of Commitment to the Priestly Service– a pledge to greater union with Christ and more loving service of God’s people, especially by celebrating the Eucharist with love and devotion.
The three great days of the Holy Triduum offer us one long liturgy that is at the very heart of the liturgical year. We are invited to enter the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover, to accompany and to follow Jesus through the halls of judgment, bitter Passion, Crucifixion, and His burial. We wait in solemn vigil to bear witness to His Resurrection as He rises again in our human flesh, glorious and immortal.
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion celebrates the day when our Lord, through love, gave His life to redeem us from sin and death. Our participation in the celebrations of this day is not just an expression of our emotions of grief and mourning or simply being present. For us Christians, we share the gift of faith in the Redeemer that gives us hope and confidence. Today’s celebration allows us to deepen our reflection upon the mystery of the Trinity– God who is Love is revealed in the ordinary language of a fallen world through rejection, pain, and suffering. At the heart of the Passion we also reflect upon the divine paradox: “Death itself is put to death on this day which we call ‘good’.”
Holy Saturday is traditionally a day of fasting, silence, and contemplation. But also it is a day of excitement and anticipation for the Elect, who have been preparing for months, perhaps years for the sacraments they will receive tonight. The Easter Vigil is the culminating liturgy of the year for the entire parish. This “holy night” is the “mother of all holy vigils”. It celebrates the Lord’s rising from the dead and reminds us that, “This is the night.” We celebrate the Lord who took our human flesh and now rises to new life of the Resurrection in His glorified and immortal body. In our happiness we sing joyful “alleluias” as the incarnation reaches its fulfillment and brings us gifts of faith, hope, peace, and the promise of eternal life.