The triumphant entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem is celebrated today on this Palm Sunday. We recall the jubilation and excitement of the people of this city with the cries of adoration of Jesus that came from their lips. Our Blessed Lord in His heart of hearts realized that very quickly the tide would turn against Him. It was for this that He was born; it was for this that He came into the world; it was for this that He made His way into the city of Jerusalem; His hour had indeed come.
On Monday of Holy Week, the priests of the Archdiocese will gather at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew with Cardinal Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and the auxiliary bishops of the Church of Washington. There we will celebrate the Eucharist together recalling the establishment of the Holy Priesthood at the Last Supper. Priests will renew their commitment to the priesthood by a public declaration of intent to continue in the service of the Church for the salvation of souls. The Holy Oils for use in the celebration of the Sacraments will be blessed and distributed to pastors to be brought back to the local parish.
On Thursday of Holy Week, parishioners will gather together for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. With joy and gladness of heart the Church recounts at this Mass the establishment of the Holy Priesthood and the institution of the Holy Eucharist – these two gifts to the Church so intimately related one to another. The Washing of Feet is the third component of this celebration recalling that Jesus came to serve and that His followers must also be willing to follow in His footsteps by service of others; doing good is not an end in itself but rather true charity is motivated by love of Christ Jesus and His most Holy Church.
On Friday of Holy Week, the suffering and cruel death of the Lord Jesus is recounted in the celebration of the Lord’s Passion. Realizing our dependence on the Cross of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and for our salvation, with devotion and loving affection the faithful are given the opportunity to reverence the Holy Cross with a kiss, not the kiss of betrayal displayed by Judas but the kiss of gratitude extended to Our Lord for His loving kindness in accepting the Cross for our salvation.
On Saturday of Holy Week, the celebration of the Paschal Mystery is made complete. As the resurrection of the Lord is proclaimed to the entire world, those wishing to enter the Church through baptism or declaration of full communion are made one with Christ Jesus and His most Holy Church. By this magnificent celebration that includes the blessing of the new fire, an array of scriptural readings, baptism & confirmation of adults and the reception of the Eucharist, we too are made one with Christ Jesus our Lord raised in glory on Easter Sunday.
I invite and strongly encourage you to participate in this most Holy Week with us. Grace upon grace is ours through these mysteries as we are immersed once again in the Blood of the Lamb.