Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion: Come and Celebrate Life
People remember the last days of their loved ones. Whether their mother or father, son or daughter, husband or wife, had been sick for a long time, or whether they died suddenly in an accident, those who remain can tell you in detail whatever happened in the days and hours leading to the death of someone they loved dearly. In the same way, the Passion of the Lord was chiseled into the minds of the disciples, the apostles, and the primitive Church. Every step along the way was remembered in precise detail. The early Christians committed the events to memory. They would read them or even recite them before the Breaking of the Bread. It was the first Liturgy of the Word. The Passion was not memorized out of a hatred for those who demanded the death of the Lord, or a hatred for those who so sadistically brought it about, it was remembered out of love. Our God loved us so much that He became one of us so His love could destroy the power of hatred in the world. He died so that we could join Him in dying to the world. He rose, so we could join Him in sharing eternal life.
In the beginning of the New Testament John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God, the One who would take the sins of the world upon Himself and become the eternal sacrifice to the Father. The Lamb of God appears again at the end of the New Testament. This is in the Seventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. The scene is heaven. A scroll is brought forth with writings on both sides and sealed with seven seals. The scroll is God’s plan for mankind. “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals,” a mighty angel calls out. But no one in heaven or on earth could be found. The visionary wept. Then the Lamb who had been slain came forward. He was given the scroll. And the angels sang, “Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain. With your blood you purchased for God men of every race and tongue, of every people and nation. You made of them a Kingdom of priests to serve our God. And they shall reign over the earth. God’s plan would now begin to take place.
This is what we commemorate during this, the holiest week of the Church year. We call Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday the Paschal Triduum, the three days of remembering the gift of the Lamb. Come and celebrate the Sacrifice of the Lamb, this week. Celebrate the Paschal Sacrifice. Join us on Holy Thursday evening as we offer the sacrifice of the Lord in Bread and Wine. Come and join us as we renew our determination to be a Eucharistic People, a people who wash the feet of others. Come on Good Friday and remember the death that makes life possible. Come and realize that the Love of God is infinitely more powerful than anything that evil, or the world, can do to us. Come on Easter Sunday and celebrate with joy the Victory of Jesus Christ.
Come and celebrate His Life.
Come and celebrate our lives.
May you and your families have a very Holy Week.