Friday, April 11, 2014

"Hosanna to the Son of David"

It is a special liturgy, this Sunday of April 13, 2014, known as “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” If you were tempted to think of it as just another Mass but with a few additions, prepare to drop that assumption. Passion Sunday is a very deep vision of the heart and soul of Christianity. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Hosanna! Let Us Welcome the Lord!

Each year during Holy Week, we accompany Jesus up to Jerusalem amidst the crowds crying out, "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says it is a day filled with exceeding praise and jubilation, but looming on the horizon is a wave of hatred, destruction and death. When he entered Jerusalem, they hailed him with palms. A few days later they nailed him to a cross. The kingship of Jesus meant terrible suffering and humiliation, says Fr. John Foley, S. J. It is not simply publicity and grandeur.

These events may have happened two thousand years or so ago. But in a certain sense, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS reminds us, they are happening right here and now. Catholics must stand at attention one Sunday each year as they listen to the entire passion narrative read aloud. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio tells us that this careful, repeated meditation on the Passion of Christ is important because the Passion is the ultimate Revelation of two intertwined realities: human sin and divine love.

The Cross Reveals the Inner Life of God

We focus on the cross this Palm Sunday and throughout this Holy Week. We unite our pains to Jesus’ pains and we receive His healing through His Cross, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds us. Fr. Phil Bloom goes straight to the point: it is the blood of Jesus which brings forgiveness of sins. It is by Jesus' death that our Lord has transformed our death from a curse into the door of eternal life, explains Father Cusick. But it is not easy to keep our eyes fixed on the eternal life, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. laments. Especially in a world that keeps telling us that there are more immediate and urgent things on which to focus.

The cross shows us God’s heart and the inner life of the Trinity. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. shows us how how Matthew's passion narrative gives us some insight into the mystery of how the Spirit enabled Jesus to pray through his experience of suffering and dying. On the cross, there is not just one person, Jesus. Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out that .

Holy Week in The Holy Land

The ideal way to spend Holy Week is to fly to Israel. Since we will not be able to do that, our parish church is the Holy Land. Within those walls, Fr. James Gilhooley tells us, we must be creative enough to find Jerusalem - the Upper Room, Gethsemane, Calvary, and the Tomb.

But we offer you another perspective. To spend the Holy Week in the Holy City, where the entire Passion of Christ transpired over 2000 years ago, is a truly special event in one's life. ParishWorld's Theology editor Paul Dion, STL, travelled to Jerusalem during of Holy Week 2008. During his pilgrimage, Paul posted daily reports direct from Jerusalem, the city where it all happened.

We share with you, our readers, the Holy Week spiritual journey of one who walks the streets of Jerusalem as Christians worldwide celebrate the suffering and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May they enrich your own personal Holy week experience.

Jerusalem, My Jerusalem
Why do they come? What does it mean?
Palm Sunday in the Holy Land
"Do this in memory of me" - Holy Thursday at the Holy Land
Last Supper Reflection from the Holy Land
Jerusalem - Good Friday
Jerusalem Pilgrimage" - Holy Saturday
"Jesus of Galilee, The Nazorean"
"The Dead Sea Comes Alive"

A Guide to Celebrating Our Holiest Week

Sundown on Holy Thursday during Holy Week marks the beginning of three sacred days (Triduum) that changed the destiny of the human race. It would be a tragedy to let this season of grace go by without taking some time for extended prayer and reflection. So steal away for as much time as you can and let the Spirit help you pick and choose which of these Holy Week devotions offered by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. will best help you make the most of this special time.

Plus here's "A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week." Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. describes what goes on during these days and why. We hope to entice you to participate in these liturgies if you are not in the habit of doing so; and if you are already a “regular” during Holy Week, we hope this brief explanation will help you enter into “our holiest week” with an even greater appreciation of its meaning.

And with Lent reaching its climax, we know it's never too late to also share with you all Rich Reece's "Spiritual tips for the best Lent ever." And Deacon Greg Kandra adds that it's also never too late to revisit the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If anyone has been away from the confessional for a while, now is a good time to make a return visit. Need help? Look no further.

And finally, we know that this Holy Week, countless Catholics around the world will venerate the cross with a kiss -- and we will be reminded again of the powerful place this instrument of death holds over our imagination, and in our Catholic culture. Even more compelling is the crucifix: the cross with the body of Christ displayed upon it, in agony, dying. A lot of our Protestant friends don't understand that. So Patrick Madrid answers the questions - Why do Catholics venerate the Crucifix? Why not just the plain Cross as Protestants do?

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a Spirit-filled and blessed Holy Week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BQ: What Sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?
FEATURED BLOG: A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week
PASTORAL HISPANA: Inicio de los dias de gracia

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