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3/24/2024

We begin Holy Week this week, starting with Palm Sunday.  I want to encourage you to attend as many of the celebrations of the Sacred Triduum as possible as we walk with Christ through His passion for our salvation. 

 

My favorite part of Holy Thursday is the time of prayer afterward at the Altar of Repose commemorating the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane before being arrested.  We have those silent hours where we can spend an hour with Him.  (This is my favorite part of all of Holy Week).  St. Mary’s will be open until 10pm that night.  Come and spend some time with Him.  

 

My favorite part of Good Friday is the veneration of the cross.  There are few more sacred things to witness than those expressions of love and gratitude as people kiss or touch the cross, thanking Jesus for His love poured out for them.

 

At the Easter Vigil my favorite moment is the Litany of the Saints being sung as we process the Easter Candle to the Baptismal Font for its blessing.  In those moments the whole Church is there – those in Heaven and those on earth.  They accompany all of us, especially those entering the Church.  Hopefully this Holy Week you can discover which moments are the most Sacred for you.

 

One of the greatest homilies on Palm Sunday was given by St. Andrew of Crete (he died in 740 AD).   I want to share part of it here for your meditation:

“Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation.  …

 

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

 

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself.  And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens – the proof, surely, of his power and godhead – his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

 

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him.

 

We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him.  Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory.

 

Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Blessed is the king of Israel.”

 

God Bless,

 

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