Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"

Palm Sunday in Lent (PalmC), March 28, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What is Holiness?
FEATURED BLOG: Reducing Faith to a Flu Shot?

Dear Friends,

This Sunday the Gospel Readings commemorate the hour when Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem for the last time. This Holy City was to be the place where his ministry on earth would be brought to its culmination, to its cataclysmic and glorious conclusion. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Passion of Christ

For the 1977th time the Church commemorates the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. We follow him every inch of the way from the gates of Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the steps of the Praetorium, to the hill of Calvary and then to the tomb in the garden where he gloriously rose from the dead.

With the royal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Father Thomas Rosica, CSB says, a new section of the Gospel begins -- the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem before his death and resurrection. The way of the cross was the greatest fulfillment of his kingship. It is one of service and humility, Fr. John Foley, S.J., explains, not one of pride and competition.

In the Liturgy we notice that the Church actually expects us to participate in these dramas. She does so, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS explains, for a number of reasons but the main one is to remind us that we are already personally involved in what is taking place. And we do so in a much more sober way than those people of Jerusalem whom we attempt to imitate, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS reminds us. The joy in our hearts however, is no less sincere since it is based in the knowledge of what came after - those earth shattering events whose consequences uniquely reverberate both backwards and forwards through time.

The heart and soul of the wisdom of Jesus, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. reminds us, is found in this story of his passion and death. Careful, repeated meditation on the Passion of Christ is important because the Passion is the climax of the entire history of Revelation and Redemption. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio calls it the ultimate Revelation of two intertwined realities: human sin and divine love.

Our Faithful & Compassionate Lord

The focus of Palm Sunday’s celebration and indeed for all the readings of Holy Week is on Jesus, the faithful one. Fr. Jim Kirstein SMA tells us that during all this week we are celebrating his fidelity not only when he was being praised and honoured by the crowd as a king but also during the terrible times of suffering and crucifixion. We look at the cross and know that the Compassionate One is looking back. He accepts the cross so our pain can become His pain, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains. He calls us to let go of all that is destroying us and trust in His Compassionate Mercy.

And Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us that one day, perhaps soon, we will, like Jesus in the Garden, have to make peace with the fact that we are soon to exit this life, alone, but for our hope in God. While Fr. Phil Bloom talls us that by meditating on the example of the good thief, we can overcome bitterness - and grow in humility.

More Reflections for Holy week

For the Catholic Church, Holy Week is a mini-theological retreat, divided by days and events that herald the Paschal Mystery. It is a magnificent week of remembrance and celebration. Hugh McNichol explains. Deacon Greg Kendra calls it the "Seven days that shook the world." While Pontiofical Household Preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa asks us to reflect on the Passion of Christ with this thought: We Are All Responsible for Jesus' Death.

To helps us go through festivities of the coming week, Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.offers "A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week." And Maurice Blumberg offers this reflection to deepen the commitment of our lives to Christ and live out more authentically the new life we have received in him.

Holy Week at the Holy Land

A couple of years ago during Holy Week, Theology editor Paul Dion, STL, travelled to Jerusalem for further Theological studies. While there he shared his Holy Week spiritual journey with us as he walked the streets of Jerusalem while Christians worldwide celebrated the suffering and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We bring back his report this week so you may experience Palm Sunday amidst the crowds of Jerusalem. Celebrate the Holy Thursday Last Supper at the plavee where it actually took place. And experience the Way of the Cross on Good Friday with Paul as he walks the very same road Jesus took to his death. Here's his report: JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! Holy Week in the Holy Land Series.

And as a final reflection piece for Holy Week, we hope this video moves you. It's "Deliver Me," by Sarah Brightman. If you were moved to the core by the movie, as I was, this will resonate with you.

Health Care, World Youth Day & More

Barack Obama hjsa signed the Health Care Bill into law. But his last-minute executive order to keep tax dollars from funding abortion confirmed what the U.S. bishops said all along about the health care reform bill: It allots federal funds for the taking of life. Unfortunately, an executive order cannot substitute for statutory provisions, the prelates are recalling. They continue to affirm that the new law is "profoundly flawed."

And as World Youth Day turns 25 this week, some 70,000 young people of the Diocese of Rome will celebrate the anniversary with Benedict XVI. The youth ministry department of the diocese has planned an event for March 25 at St. Peter's Square. Then on Palm Sunday, March 28, the Pope will continue celebrating Youth Day -- held this year at the diocesan level.

Also from the Vatican, the Pope reiterated that the true vocation of each person is to love, and man will find fulfillment in life only in the measure that he learns to love.

Amish Forgiveness Movie on Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010 the Lifetime Movie Network will premiere a made-for-TV film about the October 2, 2006 shootings of ten Amish schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, PA: “Amish Grace”. Five of the girls, aged 6-13, died at the hand of an “English” milkman, that is, on-Amish, known to all the children. Charles Carl Roberts, 32, took his own life as state troopers prepared to storm the school. Then, in the immediate aftermath of such tragedy, the Amish parents and community forgave Roberts, astounding the media and people around the world who watched the story unfold on their televisions.

"Amish Grace: A Time for Forgiveness" is a television movie about this incident and it airs on Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 8ET/5PT on LMN. Check local listings for reruns during the coming months of April and May. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP offers her television movie review here.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed Holy Week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

WAlly Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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