Father Tom's Notes
Correction: Bishop Coyne has disallowed the blessing and distribution of palms. Therefore, palms will not be available.
Just before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem which we commemorate on Palm Sunday, Jesus had spent a few days with His friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany, only a few miles from Jerusalem. They would not be present among the people who greeted the Lord, waving palms and crying, “Hosanna!”
It seems that we will have to join Martha, Mary and Lazarus this year, not gathering at the Church for the Procession with Palms, nor listening to the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion as we obey the Governor’s “stay at home” decree and recall the Procession and Passion from our own homes. This absence, difficult as it is to bear, will not lessen our desire to be near the Lord, to welcome Him, to stand by Him in His Sacred Passion. It is instead, a choice in prudence and charity to avoid spreading the virus that threatens the weakest among us, who would, even in their vulnerable state, approach the Church and the Sacraments.
The word "coronavirus is derived from the Latin word for crown. Certainly the Lord's Crown of Thorns comes to mind both as we read the Lord's Passion this week, and when we consider the suffering that many people have experienced with this virus. Suffering is an intrinsic element in the human condition; the Lord Himself was not exempt from it. Suffering differs from person to person in this pandemic, whether it be illness, the loss of a Loved One, the loss of income, or the frustration and inconvenience of having to remain home until this virus passes. But suffering united with the Lord's suffering on the Cross brings a redemptive element to us. It brings patience, compassion and charity. When we live alongside the Lord's suffering with the aforesaid patience, compassion and charity, a different crown will await us in the Kingdom to come.
During this week, you might wish to read the Gospel passages that prepare us for Easter. They are:
*Palm Sunday: Matthew 21: 1-11
*Holy Thursday: John 13:1-15
*Good Friday: John 18: 1- 19: 42
*Easter Sunday: John 20:1-9
If you wish to go to Confession, this can be arranged; Call the Rectory (228-3451) and I will be happy to make an appointment.
It will be an odd observance of Holy Week and Easter, internalizing these great mysteries of our faith, but it can be done with some effort and imagination. Please give your neighbors and anyone who will be alone more than usual during this time a phone call, so the we can make a personal connection in faith and in charity.
Be strong. Be faithful. Be loving.