Sermons

April 5: Palm Sunday

“‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”…The whole city asked, who is this? And the crowd replied. ‘This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:1-11.

Palm Sunday and the celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter are the central proclamations of our Christian faith. Unlike any other, this year, we must conduct ourselves at a physical distance but in social solidarity. Join in prayer with our fellow citizens and those around the world who feel the pain of the COVID-19 virus.

On Palm Sunday, we follow Christ, and the way of the cross. Episcopal minister, Sara Miles writes: “Palm Sunday reveals the passion, the sorrow and the love intermingled at the heart of all our lives. It forces us to choose how we will arrive at the cross, bearing that pain together or using it to separate ourselves from others.”

We come to Christ at this present moment, knowing that he is with us on this journey of life. We have a choice. Do I carry the cross? Or do we bring this cross in the fellowship of cross bearers with Christ – sister and brothers, all following the only one who knows the way. “Take up your cross and follow me,” Jesus says.

Take a moment and listen to “Hosanna to the Son of David,” a Palm Sunday Processional by composers Daniel Greig & Jon Paige. “Blessed is the one who comes” on this Palm Sunday.

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Parish churches, the focus of our Holy Week celebrations, have found the need to adapt to new and vastly complex circumstances. Of course, the goal, as always, is to keep the faith community together in prayer & song but now employing new forms of social media and the live-streaming of sacramental worship.

The Church’s ability to adapt is also a sign of its vitality and creative potential for the sake of the gospel. To my mind, a good result often comes from thoughtful experiments in challenging times.

The treasury of Catholic devotion and, in particular, the Stations of the Cross had a similar origin. Among his most creative inventions, Saint Francis of Assisi and his band of friars, after coming home to Italy from their Jerusalem pilgrimages, placed sketches of Christ’s passion along roadsides. Later, the devotion extended to the interiors of church buildings that permitted the faithful to walk with Christ and share in Francis’s spiritual journey to the Holy Land.

In a modern sense, these images were “travel posters” or billboard advertisements of a sort to remind us that we too must walk with Christ. True worship also means solidarity with Christ, opening us to an eternal grace, and one another. As we view these scenes now, we enter into the mystery of the cross in our own time and place.

More than ever this Holy Week, in our homes, with family members, near and far, let us turn to Christ, and say:

“We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, for, by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world!”

Rosary Chapel, Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA.

Here is a link to Busted Halo, a Paulist ministry to youth and campus ministers — with a video version of the Stations of the Cross:

https://bustedhalo.com/video/virtual-stations-of-the-cross

You can also access the Stations of the Cross on You Tube:

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I have been reviewing several web-based live-video streaming of Masses. 

Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, the pastor of Saint Monica, Santa Monica, CA, has an effective media ministry that includes the live-streaming of daily Mass. So go to Mass this Sunday at Saint Monica’s —  at either 9:30 AM or 5:30 PM. Here’s the link: https://stmonica.net/media-resources/watch-live

Father Eric Andrews of the Paulist Fathers forwarded a schedule of live-stream Holy Week Services at Paulist Parishes and ministries: http://www.paulist.org/WatchMass/

Father Matt Pennington and Deacon Tom O’Brien of Our Lady of the Nativity, San Luis Obispo, CA are pioneers in adapting the Church environment to new media and evangelization. You will take great heart in Father Matt’s message for this Holy Week: https://www.nativityslo.org/

Bishop Robert Barron and the “Word on Fire” team present live-streaming of daily Mass & Holy Week Services on their website: https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/

Father Lou Scurti and the “Friends of the Word” team in New Jersey, Florida, and on pilgrimage to holy sites present Palm Sunday Mass:https://www.friendsoftheword.org/palm-sunday-2020-my-god-my-god/

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