Triumph and Tragedy. I can't help but think of that phrase, the title of the sixth volume of Winston Churchill's narrative of the Second World War, in association with Palm Sunday. There are so many contradictions and paradoxes in the event of Christ's passion. So much beauty; so much ugliness. So much good; so much evil. So much love; so much hate. Yes, a triumphant and a tragic moment in the lexicon of human experiences.
Veronica, Simon of Cyrene, and Joseph of Arimathea—such beautiful, caring figures who supported our Lord. Caiphas, Herod, and Pilate—such ugly, cowardly, and jealous figures who trashed our Lord.
God the Father—such a good figure, the benevolent creator of the universe, consubstantial with his Son, who loved his son and all those given to his son, and loved them to the end. The Devil, Satan himself—such an evil figure who hated the Father so much he would do anything to attack him, even killing his innocent son.
John, Mary Magdalen, and the Blessed Mother–a pure and loving group who adored our Lord and allowed him to undergo his passion because they knew it was Christ's mission to redeem us. The Roman soldiers, the crowd, people today—an ignorant and selfish group who hurt our Lord by seeking to satisfy first themselves.
Palm Sunday pretty much covers it all. There is a character in the Passion narrative for everyone. There is a character with whom each of us can identify. There might be times when we are the negative figures, but hopefully in the end, when we look back on our lives, we'll have been one of the positives ones, and we can say that our life was a triumph...like Jesus Christ's.
I hope some of you had the chance to attend this weekend Beauty and the Beast, put on by the St. Juliana School Fine Arts Association. Well done students and parent directors and chaperones!
In case you are wondering why my head is shaved, me and many St. Juliana students took it all off for the St. Baldrick's Fundraiser to raise funds for childhood cancer. The St. Juliana team once again raised a significant amount of money to this good cause.
We are continuing to work on the new restroom facilities for the back of the church. Our two new facilities will be located in the old library and in (part of) the cry room. The old usher's room will be a room for gathering and hospitality. It is our goal for this room to eventually lead out to a large gathering space, which will extend outwards towards Oketo. We do not yet have a timeline for this larger project. We are also in the process of selecting new carpet for the inside of the church. I hope to have this installed by the end of the spring.
On Tuesday I will attend the annual Chrism Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Chicago. All the priests of the Archdiocese will gather in the morning for a reflection, followed by the Chrism Mass itself. At this Mass, priests renew the promises they made at their priestly ordination (prayer, celibacy, obedience) and the holy oils for the Catholic Church are blessed by the Cardinal. I will bring back to St. Juliana the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Sacred Chrism. By the way, the holy oils can be seen in our church, near the tabernacle.
The Sacred Triduum begins this week, the most solemn time of the year. We hope to see you for these liturgies, particularly the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday at 7pm, the Service of the Passion of our Lord Friday at 3pm, and the Easter Vigil Saturday at 7pm. A more complete schedule can be found inside the bulletin. If you are able, I encourage you to take Friday off from work, or at least the afternoon. And if this is difficult, perhaps you can at least step aside from whatever you are doing at noon and/or 3pm to say a little prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus, who suffered and died for us.
Yours in Christ,