With the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, we enter into the holiest week of the entire liturgical year. It’s known as Holy Week, for these are the high holy days of our Catholic religion, these are the days in which we more deeply contemplate the mysteries of our faith. The Church invites us during this holiest of weeks to reflect on that journey, to enter into it through the eyes of the Blessed Virgin and the other disciples, the centurion, Joseph of Arimathea and all of those who witnessed Our Lord’s passion. It’s important for us to look beneath the surface of what’s happening in order to recognize the love of the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for all of us. In doing so, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord next Sunday on Easter.
Usually, over the course of the next several days, we would have the opportunity to be in church, where we could unite ourselves with Jesus to experience the events that ultimately led Him to Calvary, where He offered Himself as sacrifice in atonement for all our sins. However, this will be the first time in recent memory that we’re unable to celebrate these mysteries in a public manner in church because of the danger of contracting the notorious Coronavirus. Now we’re invited by the modern means of communication – the 21st century media – to participate as best we can via “live streaming” through our parish website, or to use the facilities of the EWTN broadcast in order to make the journey with Jesus from a glorious welcome into Jerusalem to his ultimate death.
In the celebration of the Mass of Palm Sunday, we have two quite contradictory scenes. First, there’s the recounting of Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem, when He entered the city like a triumphant king. The crowds welcomed Him to Jerusalem with zeal, hope, and great expectation. They celebrated and rejoiced, shouting to Christ and spreading palm branches on the road.
But then, how quickly things changed for Our Lord in just a few days. Rather than being treated like a king, Jesus was mocked, beaten and crowned – not with the crown of a king, but with a crown of thorns. The Passion that we’ll experience invites us to reflect not just on the suffering Our Lord endured, but also on the experience of his disciples: those who loved Him and recognized the light of God in the darkness of His passion and death.
Mindful that the vast majority of Christians are unable to attend public services in church, we will still try to convey the depth of God’s love for his people by televising each of the days of the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) and of Easter.
Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated privately at 7:00 pm in church, and we will “live- stream” it on our website. The same applies to our Good Friday Service at 3:00 p.m. and the Easter Vigil Service and Mass at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. There will be one private Mass “live-streamed” on Easter Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
N.B. Our annual blessing of the Easter foods on Holy Saturday will take place as always at 1:00 p.m., with the exception this year that it will be outside the front doors of our church rather than inside. You may drive your car up the semi-circular driveway in front of the church and I will stand outside the church doors, and as you roll down your windows, I will sprinkle the food baskets with holy water after praying the appropriate ritual prayers.
I wish there were a simple solution to be able to do our main liturgies in public during Holy Week and on Easter, but there isn’t. I do wish you and your family a Blessed Easter and good health – so well needed at this time of life. May God bless and protect you!