One of the highlights of my year as a priest is reading the Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. It is a privilege to play the role of Christ in the narrative. The part that always sends a chill down my spine is when the crowd (you all in the congregation) yells out: "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" It's amazing to hear the church roar.
I know you personally are not directing that at me personally. You don't want to crucify me. (Okay, well, maybe, some of you do.) And I know you don't want Christ to be crucified. You're just playing the part assigned to you.
But why would the Church arrange it so? Because there's some truth in our crucifixion of Jesus. We do send Christ to the cross.
I don't say this to make you feel bad. I put myself in the same boat. When we sin and when we do not live fulfilled lives, we crucify Jesus. Our forsakenness harms Jesus. Not because he can't handle himself, but because he loves us so much that he is pained when we struggle.
There is a hymn called "Ah, Holy Jesus". The second verse goes:
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.
So, yes, we do verily yell out 'Crucify Him!' But do me this favor. At some point today or this week, say the line (since you don't have it during the Passion): "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Then, hear our Lord say to you: "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Holy Week, the most solemn time of the year, is at last upon us. I hope you can find time to pray with us. Either way, please make this a prayerful week for yourself and your family. If you can limit the amount of time watching TV or using your phone, and spending more time in peaceful silence and prayer, great. (The Masters ended this Sunday, so there shouldn't be any problem.) If you can take the day or afternoon off from work on Good Friday, also great. Once again, here is the schedule:
Monday, April 15th- Parish Penance Service at 7pm
Thursday, April 18th- Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7pm, followed by Eucharistic Adoration in the church until 11pm
Friday, April 19th- Morning Prayer at 9am, Stations of the Cross at 11:30am, Confessions at noon, Passion of Our Lord Service at 3pm, Stations of the Cross at 7pm
Saturday, April 20th- Morning Prayer at 9am, Blessing of Baskets at 11am, Easter Vigil at 7pm
Sunday, April 21st- Masses at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11am
On Tuesday, all the priests of the Archdiocese will gather for the Chrism Mass and day of reflection. Priests renew the promises of their ordination and collect the holy oils blessed by the Cardinal. Please keep us in your prayers; pray that we may be good shepherds, holy priests. Know you will be in my prayers too.
in the Holy Land. Pope Francis himself has asked parishes to do this. Through 'the Pontifical Good Friday Collection', you stand in solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land as a witness of peace, supporting Catholics there in parishes and schools, maintaining Christian shrines and caring for refugees in the Holy Land.
If you are traveling and away from the parish over Holy Week or Easter Week, be safe and enjoy your time away. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.
Yours in Christ,