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Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
April 9, 2017

We have just walked into a week of light and shadows. Holy Week is a week of contrasts. Stark contrasts. 
 
Palm Sunday begins in triumph -- triumph that proves very transitory as it turns into conflict, rejection, suffering.  You saw how quickly the joyous procession with the waving of palm branches gave way to the arrest, the trial, the condemnation, the cross. It will be this way all week long.
 
Holy Thursday will bring its share of contrasts.  The warmth and intimacy of a Supper shared by friends and punctuated by wondrous outpourings of humility and love in the washing of the feet will quickly turn into gut-wrenching agony in the loneliness of a garden where betrayal by a trusted friend will eclipse all feelings of warmth and intimacy, leaving them a distant memory.
 
And Good Friday?  Even this most desolate of days will have its contrasts.  The mindless cruelty of the Passion will be redeemed by selfless, self-emptying love that endures -- no, embraces -- the cross.  Hands nailed to the cross will become hands that bless.
 
Holy Saturday will be a day of subdued, sober reflection, a day of recovery. But quietly running underneath will be steady currents of anticipation and hope.
 
And Easter?  Easter will be the only day without conflict or contrast.  Easter will be joy -- pure, unalloyed joy.  Life, victory.  Exultant alleluias!
 
Dear friends, that tiny preview of what awaits us this week, the holiest of the Church’s year, can be homily enough for this day when the readings are long and demanding.  All we need to know is that, now that we have set out on this journey of Holy Week, there is no turning back.  There is only moving forward into the mystery, into the grace. 
 
And we move together, not alone. We move together as a community of faith, friends and strangers alike -- although on the journey of faith there really are no strangers.  And leading us, of course, is Jesus, whose passion, death, and resurrection we get to remember, to retrace, and to relive during these holy days.
 
And, my friends, remembering, retracing and reliving them can transform us. Make us new.  Give us healing.  Give us hope.  Give us life
 
May it be so!

Father Michael G. Ryan 

 

 

 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303