April 2, 2012 – Monday in Holy Week
Saint for the day: St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507)
"Holy Week and The Paschal Triduum" The most sacred part of our Catholic Faith!
The next three days are a kind of preparation for our entry into “The Paschal Triduum” the three most holy days of our Church year. This is a time for us to put aside our regular activities and tasks and focus on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Yesterday we celebrated Passion Sunday – what we used to call “Palm Sunday” – and we had exceptionally large crowds of people in attendance. We gathered outside, and away from the church, in the area around the entrance to our residence. We had received a whole truck load of palm branches and there were more than enough to decorate around the “altar” and even line the drive down to the Church.
I had stripped some of the fronds and had a large vase to hold these little pieces of the palms. But our people weren’t interested in those little, tiny leaves. They began to pick up the larger palm branches and break off a significant part of the ends so that they had something large enough to wave during the procession.
In so many ways our congregation was acting out what the people in the time of Jesus did with their loud cries of, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to the King.” But we also know that these same people who tried to make Jesus their King would later be the ones shouting for His death, “Crucify Him!”
This is why it is so important for us to look at yesterday’s celebration as being just the beginning of the story and how important it is to go through this week of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday with the Great Vigil of Christ triumph over death as we celebrate the Resurrection.
I was somewhat disappointed when I asked one of our more “regular” parishioners if she wanted to sign up for one of the scripture readings of Holy Week. Her response was, “Oh, Brother D we’re not going to be here. You know, this is one of the longest weekends in the year. We get off for Good Friday as well as Easter Monday. So we’re taking advantage of the chance to get away for a holiday.”
We have to ask ourselves: “How important is our involvement with “church?” We need to act out our exuberance with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; celebrate His gift of His Body and Blood and then, too, be the ones who shout, “Crucify Him!” but also stay around for the Resurrection. Three Holy Days that bring meaning to our own lives of faithfully following Jesus; stumbling along the way and experiencing deaths in one way or another and THEN celebrating “Resurrection!”
We shouldn’t miss any part of this fundamental mystery of our faith. Amen!
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The very Rev. Fr. Lewis Mary Shea, OP was a Dominican friar from the Chicago Central Province of St. Albert the Great,...
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8