Palm Sunday - April 14, 2019
THIS WEEK’S REFLECTION
A Shocking Contrast!
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9
In today’s Liturgy we face quite a contrast of experiences and emotions. We begin our celebration listening to the story of Jesus being welcomed into Jerusalem with great joy and exultation! “Hosanna!” they cried out. “Hosanna in the Highest!” Jesus was treated as He should have been treated. People were excited to see Him and there was much excitement.
But this excitement quickly turned to shock and horror as we enter more deeply into today’s readings. The Gospel culminates with Jesus hanging on the Cross crying out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And with that, “Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.” At that moment the entire congregation kneels in silence as we ponder the reality of Christ’s death.
How things can change in one short week. What happened to all the people who were shouting and praising Him as He entered into Jerusalem? How could they allow Him to enter into this Crucifixion and death?
The deepest answer to this question is one that we may not expect. The answer is that the Father willed it. The Father willed, by His permissive will, that so many would turn on Him, abandon Him and allow Him to be crucified. This is so very important to understand.
At any time during that first Holy Week, Jesus could have exercised His divine power and refused to embrace His Cross. But He didn’t. Instead, He willingly walked through this week anticipating and embracing the suffering and rejection He received. And He didn’t do so begrudgingly or even with regret. He embraced this week willingly, choosing it as His own will.
Why would He do such a thing? Why would He choose suffering and death? Because in the Father’s perfect wisdom, this suffering and death was for a greater purpose. God chose to confound the wisdom of the world by using His own suffering and Crucifixion as the perfect means of our holiness. In this act, He transformed the greatest evil into the greatest good. Now, as a result of our faith in this act, the crucifix hangs centrally in our churches and in our homes as a constant reminder that not even the greatest of evils can overcome the power, wisdom and love of God. God is more powerful than death itself and God has the final victory even when all seems lost.
Let this week give you divine hope. So often we can be tempted toward discouragement and, even worse, we can be tempted toward despair. But all is not lost for us either. Nothing can ultimately steal away our joy unless we let it. No hardship, no burden and no cross can conquer us if we remain steadfast in Christ Jesus letting Him transform all we endure in life by His glorious embrace of His own Cross.
Reflect, today, upon the contrast of emotions from Palm Sunday through Good Friday. Ponder the fear, confusion and despair that many would have had as they saw Jesus murdered. Reflect, also, upon this being a divine act by which the Father permitted this grave suffering so as to use it for the greatest good ever known. The Lord gave His life freely and calls you to do the same. Reflect upon the cross in your life. Know that the Lord can use this for good, bringing forth an abundance of mercy through your free embrace as you offer it to Him as a willing sacrifice. Blessed Holy Week! Put your eyes upon the Lord’s Cross as well as your own.
CELEBRATING HOLY WEEK
Holy Week begins today, Palm Sunday. This is the week that ushers in a new age in the history of the world and a new moment in our journey of faith. Let’s set aside all that is not essential in order to walk this final mile with Jesus.
Archbishop William Lori will lead the Mass for the blessing of the holy oils at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen tomorrow evening at 7:30 pm.
A communal celebration of the sacrament of penance for our Pastorate will be held at St. Wenceslaus Church Tuesday, April 16, 7:00 pm. Fr. Xavier Edet, S.S.J will preside and preach at the service. Available priests will also be present for confessions during the evening. The sacrament of penance is an important part of our Lenten call to conversion and our preparation for Easter.
St. Ann’s will host a Seder Service on Wednesday, April 17, 7:00 pm at Mother Seton Academy. We observe this traditional Jewish Passover meal as a representation of the Last Supper of our Lord with his apostles. Please use the sign-up sheet in the back of church if you are interested in joining us. Volunteers are also needed to assist in the preparation of the service. If you are interested please contact the parish office at 410-235-8169 or see Mary Middleton.
The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at St. Ann’s Church on Thursday, April 18 at 7 pm. This Mass includes the Washing of the Feet and procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS, 12 noon at St. Ann’s lead by KPC-Ladies Auxiliary followed by,
SEVEN LAST WORDS at 12:30 pm with special guest speakers:
Rogelio D’Almeida – St. Ann’s Church
Alicia Champlain – St Wenceslaus Church
Shrene Burnette – St. Wenceslaus Church
Frederick Jones – St. Francis Xavier Church
Joyce Logan – St. Francis Xavier
Erich March – St. Ann’s Church
Rev. Pat Jones – St. Matthew’s Church
LITURGY OF THE LORD’S PASSION at St. Wenceslaus, 3pm.
The Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil Service and Mass, for our pastorate, will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church, 1501 E. Oliver Street 21213, Saturday April 20, 8:00 pm.
Sunday, April 21, Easter Sunday Mass, 11:00 am
St. Ann’s Church.
9:00 a.m. at St. Wenceslaus
8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier
EASTER EGG HUNT
Please join us for an Easter Egg Hunt for the youth after the 11:00 am Mass on Easter Sunday, April 21 outside in the Prayer Garden. Light refreshments will be provided during the festivities.
Members of our Outreach Committee will conduct our food pantry this Tuesday, April 16 to help assist those in the neighborhood who are in most need just in time for the Easter Holiday.
EASTER FLOWERS-LAST CALL
Envelopes are available in the back of church for those who would like to remember a loved one with an Easter Flower to be placed on the altar. The offering for Easter Flowers is $10. Envelopes are due today.
ST. ANN’S GOSPEL CONCERT
Saturday, April 27th 7:00 pm St. Ann’s Choir presents a Gospel Music Celebration Concert, “I Come to Magnify The Lord.” This event will be performed at St. Ann’s Church. Donations are $10. Please join us!!!
Please also continue to pray for all of our sick and homebound, especially Msgr. Lloyd Aiken (Sacred Heart Glyndon), Cornelia Bailey, Florence Barber, James Butts, Elaine Cousin, Elaine Edmonds, Gregory Epps, John Frederick, Pat Haley, Rita Hardy, Tom Lutz, Nelson Outlaw, Penny Palmer, Bernadette, Wallace, Kevin Scott, Sharon Johnson-Stewart Wallace, Rita Watkins and ask that God grant them strength, comfort and healing.
READINGS FOR NEXT SUNDAY
1st Reading Acts 10:34, 37-43
2nd Reading Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel John 20:1-9