“Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear.” Isaiah 50:4
After all the weeks of Lent and preparation, we come to the heart of who we are and what it means to be a Christian. This is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.
Today’s events, and the events of Holy Week soon to follow, are as meaningful now as they were 2,000 years ago. We recognize that God is inviting us to be transformed: to pass from death to new life. This is the week we say “Yes, Lord. I am ready.”
I know that for some of us the traditional liturgies and celebrations of Holy Week will be compromised. Whether we express our faith privately at home or in safe groups, Holy Week represents the core of our faith. What we remember is Christ giving himself up totally for us—and calling us to give ourselves up for one another.
Today we receive the palm, which the crowds waved as they welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. Later this week we will celebrate the Last Supper and the gift of the Eucharist, the lasting presence of God among us. Then on Good Friday we will recite the Stations of the Cross, remembering the suffering and death of Our Lord. As we experience the promise of Holy Week, now is a good time to focus on forgiveness—for ourselves and one another—and on acts of charity that heal. We do both by responding to God’s call to love and serve one another freely and without measure. As missioners, there is no holding back.
Friend, when we turn to God for help, it will be as Isaiah says: The Lord will open our ears, we will be called, and we will hear. May you have a blessed Holy Week in preparation for the greatest feast day of all, Easter Sunday.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Reflection for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
With joy we proclaim you Messiah,
anointed Savior and son of David.
With blessed palm branches we hail You
King who comes in the name of the Lord.
With reverence and awe we gather
around the table of Your Passover supper
and with sorrow we mourn Your death
on the Cross for love of us.
Lord, we can never appreciate, much less
comprehend the depth of Your mercy
nor the full meaning of Your sacrifice.
We stand with Mary Magdalene and
Your Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross
and in place of Your Beloved Disciple.
With sorrow beyond measure
we help Joseph of Arimathea
take down Your bruised body
and lay it in a tomb meant for us.
With broken hearts we take Mary,
Your mother, to our homes and
into our hearts as You instructed us.
As darkness falls over the earth
we keep holy this holiest of Sabbaths
as we mourn in silence and wait
for the dawn of a new day.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso