Monday of Holy Week

Yesterday we began the final week or preparation for Easter, the feast of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.  We Catholics read the familiar Passion, Jesus’ journey to Calvary and His death on the cross.  I wonder, sometimes, if most Catholics see Holy Week as a big deal.  I just heard my wife talking to her sister on the phone.  They were discussing some paperwork that needed to be taken care of and I heard my lovely bride say that it would have to wait until next week.  There just isn’t time for such trivia during Holy Week.  And she’s right.  At least for us.

My three assignments, pastoral care minister at a hospital, part-time deacon at my home parish, and director of a parish in the city, along with my wife’s music ministry do make the next seven days kind of crazy for us.  As ministers, not only do we have to attend an abundance of services, but we also take some responsibility for the quality of those services.  I will be leaving shortly to go to my downtown church to oversee the construction of the Easter display.  It promises to be spectacular, and I’m excited to see how it turns out, since this is my first Easter at my new parish.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  In fact, I welcome the challenges of the upcoming week and wish that others could be as focused on the liturgy as we are.  It’s a blessing to be reminded so often of what Jesus did for us.  In fact, I feel like others are missing out on a great blessing, especially those nominal Catholics who don’t even bother to attend any of this week’s special liturgies.

I know some folks avoid these services, especially the Easter Vigil, like the plague.  I mean, who can be expected to spend that much time IN CHURCH?

I fear that I’m preaching to the choir here, but if you know someone who doesn’t seem to “get it” when it comes to Easter and the events preceding it, maybe you can gently coax them into attending with you.  I used to be one of those people, even falling into the Christmas and Easter only club for several years.  Now I can’t wait for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

There are any number of reasons to be Catholic, and many more reasons why it’s good to be a fully-participating member of the Church.  This week is one of the biggest.

See you in church?

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday.  It’s the day when we read Luke’s account of the Passion of the Lord.  The people in the pews have taken the part of the crowd gathered in Jerusalem to witness the capture and “trial” of Jesus.

Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!

What were you thinking when you said those words?  Are they just words in a script, something you said because it’s your part?  Or do they have any special meaning to you?  I’d like to suggest that you give them serious thought because every time you sin, you say those words even if you don’t realize it.

Jesus died for our sins.  Not just for the sins of the people in Jerusalem;  not for the people who lived up to and including the time of His death.  Time is a human invention.  God exists outside of time.  He doesn’t change the future, but He knows the future.  As Jesus hung on that cross, He was dying for your sins and my sins just as surely as He was dying for the sins of the very people who yelled “Crucify Him!”

So, when you tell a lie, when you fail to love your neighbor as yourself, when you don’t come to mass or when you fail to adhere to the Church’s teachings on marriage and procreation you’re yelling “Crucify Him!” just as surely as you did just a few minutes ago.  When you fail to help the poor:  “Crucify Him!” When you look the other way while your employees in Washington DC pass laws that encourage abortion:  “Crucify Him!” When you go along with the crowd, giving in to worldly temptation even when you know better.  “Crucify Him!”

But there is good news.  Remember what HE said.  “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”