Welcome to Holy Week!!!
This Palm Sunday begins Holy Week when we will accompany Jesus on his way to Calvary where He will die, once again, for us and for our sins. And this road will lead us to the glory of His resurrection. These upcoming days, especially Holy Thursday, Good Fri-day, Easter Vigil and Easter itself are special days for us believers.
But we have to remember that you and I can make these days holy, make this week holy. If we treat this week as any ordinary week, without making some room in our schedules for reflection, adoration, prayer, or confession, it will be holy in name only.
We call this day Palm Sunday because it re-minds us of the Jewish feast – the Passover – when Jesus Entered Jerusalem and the people recognized Him as the King and spread palm branches before Him.
But you might ask; what is Passover? The Passover is a very important holiday in the Jewish faith. It reminds them of the time when the Jews escaped from slavery in Egypt. Jews all over the world celebrate Passover, but the most special place in the world to be during Passover is in the city of Jerusalem. Because of this, Jesus was celebrating this feast with his disciples and with the other people.
But something unusual happened. People rec-ognized Jesus! They recognized him and welcomed him as a King, as Messiah, and as a Prophet.
Somebody said: he healed my son, the other person said: he returned my sight, someone else said: he performed a miracle and multiplied the bread and they threw before Jesus their cloaks and the palm branches. They even cheered him, shouting: Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!
These people were filled with happiness, joy, and excitement.
But what happened a few days later?
The same people, the same crowd that cheered him, shouted again, only this time their words were not cheerful. They were ugly and mean.
Crucify him! Crucify him! Put him to death! Crucify him!!! We have no King. He is not our king. We have no king but Caesar.” They were the same people who a few days before were shouting Hosanna But, they were filled with anger, hatred, and bitterness. What happened to these people? Why did they change so dramatically?
They had a choice, and they chose to act against Jesus. We face this same decision. You and I also have a choice each day!
We can choose to follow Jesus and make him the King and Lord of our lives, to spread his Good News with others, to be his disciples in today’s world, to be good and to do good, to be holy, and to make this week holy, or we can choose to forsake Jesus, being indifferent… ultimately saying I don’t know this man.
Jesus chose you and me by dying on the cross for our salvation! What’s your choice today? Are you going to choose Jesus?
An invitation and explanation!
As this season of Lent quickly comes to a close, we are being called to reflect on the central mystery of our faith: the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. During this time, we focus our minds and hearts on what is essential and most important in the Christian life: the Paschal Mystery. We come to understand the Paschal Mystery during the solemn celebrations of the Triduum, which are the last three days of Holy Week. Please allow me to quickly explain each day and their significance to our life of faith.
Holy Thursday is when we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and we commemorate two important events, the institution of the priesthood and most importantly, the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist. When we celebrate the priesthood, we don’t just celebrate the ordained priesthood that I am humbled to share in; we also celebrate the common priesthood of all baptized Christians. All of us were baptized as priests, prophets, and kings and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday celebrates all of our priesthoods. As priests, we are all called to offer ourselves as sacrifices and to give of ourselves for others. We see this in the simple, yet profound action, of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Please come and share in this celebration with us on Holy Thursday, April 1st, at 7:00 pm in the church.
Good Friday is the celebration of our Lord’s passion and death. What makes this particular Friday “good” is that when Jesus died on the Holy Cross, the gates of heaven were opened for all of us to enter. Before Christ’s death, heaven was closed and everyone who died before that Friday were waiting in a place some Jews called “Abrahams Bosom” or Sheol. When Christ completed our heavenly Father’s will by giving His life on the Cross, heaven was opened, and we no longer needed to wait for the Messiah. Because Good Friday is a day we commemorate this most perfect model of Love, we don’t celebrate Holy Mass at all. No Masses are allowed to be celebrated on Good Friday because, in the Mass, we celebrate the whole Paschal Mystery (passion, death, and resurrection). Good Friday is only about Jesus’ passion and death, we do not yet celebrate His resurrection. Instead, we have a prayer service commemorating our Lord’s passion and death where we venerate the Holy Cross and receive communion that was consecrated during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the night before. Please come and join us for this very solemn and holy celebration on Good Friday, April 2nd, at 1:00 pm. At 12:30 pm we’ll celebrate the stations of the cross. At 3 pm you are also invited to begin The Divine Mercy Novena with us, 9 days before Devine Mercy Sunday. Don’t forget about fasting on Good Friday!
The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday is the climax of our liturgical life and the most important celebration we have in our entire tradition. I’m not kidding or overselling when I say it is the most beautiful and profound liturgical celebration you will ever experience. During our time together in prayer we experience the whole of our salvation history when Christ literally brought us from darkness into His eternal and blessed light. Please join us at the Solemn Easter Vigil on April 3rd at 8:30 pm. You will not be sorry. Blessing of the food at midday only Polish food will be blessed! …just kidding 😉
It’s my hope that you will all join us for these sacred and solemn celebrations with your whole family. I ask for your continued prayers as well for me and the whole parish!
God Bless you are in my prayers,