Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
April 9, 2017
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.
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.
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
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
Father Michael G. Ryan