Letter from Fr. Rex: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
On Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday. It marks the beginning of Holy Week. For Christians this is the holiest of weeks. Our Lenten journey that began on Ash Wednesday, leads us into Holy Week. Nowhere in the Christian calendar do we recall and celebrate all the central teachings of our faith as we do during this week in such a short period of time. We remember the Passion of Jesus. When we speak of the Passion of Jesus, we usually think of the suffering and pain that was done to Jesus by others. It is true, but for Jesus, it was more than just the violence that was inflicted on him. For Jesus, it was a POWER within him, that not only helped him endure what was done to him, but also what he did for others during his life on earth.
People often speak about being passionate about certain social, moral or religious issues or causes in our society or world. Jesus was a passionate man. Throughout his ministry Jesus revealed the extent of his passion for us all. In his undying desire to do the will of his Father; in his preferential option to love the outcasts, sinners and the abandoned of society and his fidelity and loyalty even to those who deserted him. All of this shows that Jesus was a man of grand passion.
Why do we remember the Passion of Jesus? Why keep alive the memory of such anguish and pain? Are we not supposed to forget about past pain and hurts and get on with life? As Christians we are called not to forget how Jesus shared his very life completely with his disciples and with us in a loaf of bread and a cup of wine and his way of the cross. “Whenever, you do this, do it in memory of me…” When we as a community, choose to remember pain and suffering, our memory becomes a protest. Remembrance of pain and suffering demands a future that is more than a repetition of the past.
Even as the Church invites us all to participate in the incredible richness of this week’s liturgy, this year we are only too aware how hard it will be for us not be physically present in church. We will not be able to walk into the church with palm branches on Palm Sunday as a family or as parishioners, or be able to wash each other’s feet on Holy Thursday, or venerate the cross of Jesus on Good Friday as we have done for as long as we can remember. Yet, I believe that together with many people who are suffering and are in hospitals and others who are anxious and worried, and those who care for them, we need to be able to see the face of Christ in them and share in the pain and the suffering of Christ and his compassion and love. This Holy Week, let us reflect on the cost of self-giving love in a self-serving world.
You are in my thoughts. Let us continue to pray for each other!
Fr. Rex Pillai, Administrator