Witness to the Journey | Deacon Reflections | Palm Sunday

Dear Friends,

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Today, we once again welcome Jesus into our lives as we relive the pain and suffering of Our Lord’s death and celebrate the incredible joy of His Resurrection. These forthcoming holiest of days allow us to share in His suffering, journeying alongside Him through His Passion, the Cross, but also to share in His Rising and new life! The liturgies invite us to immerse ourselves in the events that took place and we have the opportunity to lay down our lives freely by actively participating in them.

We begin today with Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, where the crowds greet Him by waving palms and saying “Hosanna in the Highest!” This joy quickly turns to sorrow with the suffering and death of Christ as we listen and participate in the Passion reading during the second Gospel today.

We then enter into this week continuing with our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and pause to hopefully reflect more and prepare our hearts for the upcoming Triduum. The Easter Triduum is the shortest, yet holiest season of the Church year. Lent is over. We begin this sacred time with the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, continuing with the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday,  culminating with the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening. 

You’ll notice the Mass does not end on Holy Thursday – it is the start of one continuous liturgy celebrated over the three days. There is no opening hymn or prayer as we begin the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, nor does the presider end the liturgy with the Sign of the Cross. The majority of Holy Saturday is a day of preparation and fasting as we wait for the joyful Resurrection of Christ from the tomb at the Easter Vigil after sundown. The Triduum begins sundown Thursday evening and concludes at sundown Easter Sunday. If you’ve never participated in any of these liturgies, I invite and encourage you to join us this year. I promise, you will see our faith and love for our God in a much more meaningful and beautiful way.

This week we will also be a witness and continue the journey with the twelve Elect who said “yes” to the Catholic faith and Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. These men and women have been in the R.C.I.A. process for months, some even longer than a year, but they all have one thing in common: the love for our Lord and the willingness to follow Him.

As a community of faith, it is a blessing for each of us, to be part of their faith journey especially as they approach the Easter Sacraments this Saturday evening. This is also a wonderful way for each of us, as baptized Christians, to renew our own baptismal promises and serve as a model to the 12 Elect that their journey has been worth their effort, and that this is only the beginning!

The gift of, or that feeling of belonging is something we cannot teach. It is learned by doing. St. Francis of Assisi stated “Do what is yours to do.” May we continue in the ways of St. Francis and enter into this Holy Week with a deepened desire to journey in faith through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ through these sacred liturgies.

Peace of Christ,
Deacon Ray Ferreris