Spiritual reflections of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday
Dear Family of St. Augustine,
This is probably the 23rd or 24th year celebration of Palm Sunday with all of you. We have set up a tradition where we meet in the school yard. We bless palms and we began a procession according to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So we proclaim, “Hosanna in the Highest, Hosanna, son of David, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” As we pray this, we wave our palms high to express pure praise. We take this palm and put it behind our crucifix or our statues on the altar for the rest of the year. It reminds us of being people of praise. As long as the weather is nice we are outside. I had to give a little correction years ago, where we would all proceed to the back yard going out the entry. Then all of a sudden I would see people taking short cuts. I had to smile and say, “We don’t have to take short cuts when we are following Jesus. So, enter in and when you come into the church with your palm, for those of you who aren’t handicapped, give praise again and again in adoration. Our God is going to be victorious.” Now we will read the story of His passion and death so we enter into that. It creates a nice somber atmosphere for all of Holy Week.
Today, also we will celebrate the Seder Supper and recall when Jesus at the Passover meal gave Himself totally to us in Holy Communion. All He wanted to do was to totally give thanks. So we enter into that this afternoon. Praise God! Reflect also on Holy Thursday night at 7:00 p.m., we reenact the Last Supper and think about being called to service. Early in the day I think about my 52 years of being a priest, which I celebrated this week. I have gone to the Cathedral and have said, “Yes” again to be a servant to my people. Hopefully I am serving and loving you. I feel good about you all and I love you. Then on Good Friday ever since Fr. James was here 23 years ago, we have walked around the church from 12 noon until 3:00 p.m. Sometimes we take the van along for those who can’t walk or those who need to sit down for a few minutes. We will pray intensely for three hours and sing between each station, so there is no talking. A little humor comes to my mind because I have to now and then get on people’s cases and remind them this is all prayer and no talking to one another, just singing and praying. That is a very inspirational time and it is good for me because Good Friday is a viable enactment in our community with lots of suffering. There is passion in death! I recall various events as I walk along: various people murdered and various tragedies. Holy Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., it’s been wonderful to have many new people come into our church and to celebrate Easter Sunday joy. What a blessing! Thank you for journeying with me these forty days with our Lenten efforts together. Praise God again! Alleluia!
Love, Fr. Bob