Palm Sunday 2021
Today Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday are called the Triduum—the most important liturgical celebration of the Church year spread out over three days. Then a week from today, of course, we have Easter Sunday. I am so happy to celebrate these Holy Days with all of you! Last year, we only had music ministers and lectors for our Holy Week liturgies.
Today, there are two Gospels proclaimed. The first Gospel, proclaimed before the procession with palms, tells us of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Later in the Mass, at the usual time, the passion of Jesus is proclaimed, and this year it will be according to the Gospel of Mark. Thus Palm Sunday takes the name from the first Gospel proclamation, and Passion Sunday from the second Gospel proclaimed.
When we were in ordinary time, we were hearing the Gospel of Mark proclaimed in sequential order during weekday Mass, and we could hear tension rising between Jesus and the forces of evil. In Mark’s narrative, the chief priests and scribes began seeking a way to put Jesus to death after he drove out the money changers from the temple, yet they charged him with blasphemy -a capital offense still to this day in some Muslim countries. Yet when presented before the Romans, his crime was presented as a political one, charging that Jesus claimed to be king of the Jews. After he was sentenced to death, Jesus did not speak again until his final cry from the cross. Two thousand years later, we are still mystified that the one without sin was put to death, and yet the saving power of the cross is just as real and present to us.
Again, I’m very happy to celebrate the mysteries of our salvation with you in person. I was looking at last year’s bulletin, and on Palm Sunday last year thanks to Bob Brasich and Kathy Haliburton, our Palm Sunday Mass was the first Mass to be livestreamed. A year later, we are still streaming a Sunday Mass on Facebook.
This time last year, the Young Professionals were planning a Zoom prayer service, and our drive-in confessions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament were very popular. A year later, they are still meeting on Zoom for Bible study. A year ago, we also were planning our food distribution schedule, which grew during the most economically challenging part of the pandemic and served at least 20 families who had reduced ours or no job, for over 20 weeks. This outreach service happened thanks to the leadership of Br Arturo Renteria, OSA, with support from a number of anonymous benefactors, and The Saint Augustine Foundation. Earlier this year, Br. Arturo stopped serving at our parish. He is focusing on other online ministries.