Dear Parishioners: Palm Sunday sets the stage for the final showdown between Jesus and his detractors. Today, Passion Sunday, the final scene is to be played out. This is Holy Week, when the whole Christian world comes together to commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of his mission, and the fruition of the task that the Father had sent him to do. Everything Jesus had done so far, every word, every action, every miracle, had been building up to the climactic events of this coming week. All the players are now in place, all the elements of the play are now ready, and Jesus enters into his passion after a life of faithful service to his Father and to the people whom he loved.
The final scene in Jesus’ life appears to the whole world as a scene of tragedy, a failure of tremendous proportions. Here was a man who did nothing but good, who spoke only of peace, who cared only that the will of God be done. And he was to end his life in the most cruel and humiliating way—crucifixion, at the hands of the very humanity he was sent to redeem. In the eyes of the world which calculates its investments in terms of the returns it will get, Jesus has to be judged a failure, his mission futile, his words, fallen on deaf ears, his death the final judgment of a failed and wasted life.
Passion Sunday begins Holy Week on this sad note. It sets the tone for the somber and solemn days ahead. But there is inserted into this sadness, an unmistakable element of triumph. For we all know that the play doesn’t end with the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, at the hands of those who rejected him. We know that death would not be the final word, that after the agony of Good Friday and the silence of Holy Saturday, will come the glory and triumph of Easter.
At Easter the very life of Jesus will find vindication in the hands of his Father who will give him the greatest reward of all by raising him from the dead and destroying death forever. The life of Jesus, his works and his deeds, did not happen in vain. This is the real end or point of the story of Jesus. It is also the point of the story of our own lives, the glory of the resurrection is the promise that awaits us all. On that glorious Easter morning, when the women rush to anoint Jesus’ body in the tomb, they discover, not a dead Jesus, but an angel who tells them that he is no longer there, for he has been raised up. This is complete vindication. Jesus had been right all along, death is not the final word. Neither are suffering and pain. The joy of Easter is what awaits all who remain faithful to God’s promise.
I invite you to enter into this holiest of weeks by joining us for the Sacred Triduum. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the one and only Mass allowed, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. We solemnly celebrate the Last Supper where Jesus instituted the priesthood and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Our Church becomes that upper room where the Lord gathered with his disciples. Following the Last Supper, the Lord went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Our Church becomes that garden as we gather before the repository in silent prayer and adoration until Midnight.
On Good Friday, we mark the Passion and Death of the Lord. No Mass is allowed to be celebrated on this day. We walk the Way of the Cross at 3pm and celebrate the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death at 7pm. Good Friday is not the end of our story, just was it wasn’t the end of Jesus’ story.
On Holy Saturday, we spend the day in silent prayer until the Mother of All Vigils, the Easter Vigil at 7:30pm. The Vigil Mass is an occasion of great joy as we celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation for our newly baptized and confirmed and glory in light of the resurrection. On Sunday we rejoice in the glory of the empty tomb of Easter. Masses are at 7:30am, 9am and 10:30am. There is no 5pm Mass on Easter Sunday.
It’s Holy Week! Pray, adore, celebrate and rejoice in the mysteries of our Faith. God Bless.