Our palms are ready. We are set for a warm welcome. Jesus is about to enter our village and we are to proclaim him our Messiah. That’s the theme for this day, this feast we affectionately refer to as Palm Sunday. The people of Jerusalem were jubilant and overcome with joy. The people were giddy with glee. Someone they believed to be from God was in their midst and they were going to welcome him with all their love and admiration. They were truly in the midst of the Chosen One and that was reason enough to celebrate. Yet, the people of Jerusalem also believed that they were to be freed from slavery, released of their exile under Roman authority. Jesus truly was to deliver His people from slavery. Jesus came to set us all free from sin and the promise of a new life after our earthly existence has ceased. The people clamored for the chains of human bondage to be broken, once for all. Jesus did come to break those chains…the chains that shackle our souls and spirit to sin and set us free to dwell in the light…the Light that is Christ.
I would have loved to have been there in Jerusalem on that particular day. There are 10 events in human history that I would have loved to had been present to experience. Palm Sunday is one of the these events. In case you’re wondering, here are a few others, in no particular order…
April 9, 1865: the signing of the peace treaty between the States; to see peace being drawn up and usher in a new era.
April 3, 1965: the “I have been to the mountaintop” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, Tennessee; to hear this great man speak and be over whelmed by his passion, compassion, love and desires for peace, unity and equality.
August 15, 1942: the arrival of desperately needed food, medical supplies and petrol fuel to Malta, finally breaking the Axis blockade in the Mediterranean Sea. This is both a national holiday in Malta as well as a feast in the Roman Catholic Church, honoring the Feast of the Assumption of Mary; to experience the pain and the joy that my family experienced before and after this most historical day.
391: Under orders by the Archbishop of Alexandria and with support from Emperor Theodosius, the Library of Alexandria is burned to the ground, destroying the world’s most extensive collection of books. I could see myself dashing into the burning building and pulling, grabbing and hauling out as many books as possible.
My other top 5 human history events will be shared at another time, though someone may need to remind me.
What would be our reaction if we knew Jesus was coming to town this weekend? I suspect we would be at our best, and rightly so. Palms on the ground to usher Jesus in? Probably not. Media coverage, the Goodyear blimp overhead, international news coverage…you could count on it!
Most importantly, what would be in our heart? What would we ask him if we were afforded the opportunity to speak to Him? Would we hug Him, shake Jesus’ hand, kiss Him or stand back in awe and wonder, just humbled and honored enough to be so close and to hear His voice?
My sisters and brothers, the good news is Jesus is coming, though no one knows exactly when His arrival will be. Jesus said He will come back. It is up to us to be prepared, to be ready to welcome Him. We are to live each day as if Jesus were coming today. We are to have our hearts laid bare to absorb Jesus’ love. Our souls are to be made free of any stain and semblance of sin. Since we do not know when Jesus’ return will be…we are called to be ready today, at this moment…for “we know not when the master will return.”
We celebrate Palm Sunday and Holy Week; the greatest, most significant and holiest of time in the Christian world. We encounter the folly of humankind as we recall and relive what Jesus experienced and how the people responded: the loving welcome to the betrayal of Jesus in the garden at Gethsemane; the court yard and Jesus’ trial before Pilate; the path to Golgotha; the death on the cross; the tomb and ultimately, the glory of Easter and victory over sin and death.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
The invitation has been laid out for us. Let us rejoice and be glad, for there is great reason for us to celebrate and truly, we will be glad as we exult in you!
We welcome Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday April 1st; continue with Holy Week starting Monday, April 2nd and the holiest and highest of all Church feasts of the Triduum beginning with Maundy Thursday, April 5th, Good Friday on April 6th and of course, Holy Saturday and the glorious Easter Vigil on April 7th. The Liturgy times for all services are as follows:
Palm Sunday, April 1st, 10am. (There is no 4:30 Saturday afternoon Liturgy on March 31st)
Maundy Thursday, April 5th, 7 pm
Good Friday, April 6th, 7 pm
Holy Saturday April 7th:
- Blessing of Easter Foods, from 12noon till 3 pm in the church
- The Great Vigil of Easter, 8 pm
Easter Sunday April 8, 10 am (Easter egg hunt after church, with the Easter Bunny!)
Please, come, journey and celebrate these most holy of days and enjoy the grace and spirit this beautiful Church season offers.