Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord reflection by Deacon Tim Sullivan
As we prepare to celebrate Holy Week 2020 we leave another Lenten Season in our wake. We’re given 40 days to work on changing our lives and concentrate more on what our final goal is, spending an eternity in heaven with Our Lord. With the reading of the Passion of Christ for the first time during Holy Week, we can take some consolation that if it wasn’t a perfect Lent, if we didn’t change all those things we wanted to change, we aren’t alone. If you look at the Passion narratives you’ll see that Jesus’ best friends and companions were of no support to him and deserted him during his greatest times of need. They fell asleep in the garden instead of praying with him just prior to his arrest. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the Apostles ran away. While Jesus was being scourged and tried, Peter denied him three times. Those who stuck by him were the women of Jerusalem and his mother and ultimately the Apostle John.
We’re all works in progress, sometimes being successful and other times not so much. None of us is perfect and it's good to remind ourselves that we work knowing that the best we can do is try. We can always look forward to another Lent, more time to work on ourselves, and to work during the entire year toward reforming ourselves by the same ways that we do during Lent, prayer, sacrifice, fasting and almsgiving. As we age, we’re struck with the realization that at some point we’re going to run out of Lents, run out of time to make reparation for those things in our lives which have interfered with our relationship with Christ. Just as it wasn’t too late for the Apostles and St. Peter to make reparation despite their abandonment and denial of him.
On a personal note, just prior to the Coronavirus, I was diagnosed with non-operative lung cancer. I’ve had to step back from assisting at Mass as well as working with the homeless on Fridays. So, Coronavirus notwithstanding, that is the reason I haven’t been very visible around the parish. After talking to Fr. Rex and my daughters, I decided that I owed it to my parish family to let all of you know what was going on with me. I mentioned that the cancer is inoperable. It is situated right next to the heart which rules out any surgery. Additionally, my physical well being has been compromised and that rules out chemotherapy. I’m scheduled to start radiation treatments in a week.
This has been a different kind of Lent for me. My own mortality has made itself much more evident than it had before. I find that it’s much easier this year to have a “good” Lent, one that really is permitting me to concentrate on those things that we should all concentrate on. I am continuing my work with “The Next Chapter,” the Saint Clement divorce group by teleconferencing as well as counseling on the phone. If you want or need to talk to someone, please feel free to reach out to me. It’s your choice whether or not you want to face-time or just talk. If you’re having a hard time with the Coronavirus and want a sympathetic ear, give me a call.
I hope all of you have a blessed “Holy Week.” You are all in my prayers.
Deacon Tim Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org, 734-502-1818