As Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph, we enter Holy Week and if you are like me, you may be wondering how we are at Palm Sunday already; it seems only a few days ago that it was Ash Wednesday. The contrast in the two Gospels we hear today is always striking, the entry into the city, full of joy, the crowd very much with Jesus, the excitement evident for all to see and hear. Then the Passion, the Chief Priests and their officials have poisoned the crowd against Jesus they turn on Him baying for blood, even freeing a brigand in His place.
The Gospel version we hear today from St Luke, demonstrates healing and reconciliation; there is a mildness towards the disciples too. In this Gospel Jesus heals the man wounded by the sword at His arrest and the disciples do not scatter and run when, instead they watch from a distance. In this Gospel sworn enemies Herod and Pilate are reconciled. In this Gospel Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem and asks them not to weep for Him.
It is in this Gospel too, that a man I consider to be the most fortunate man ever born appears briefly. One of the two criminals who spoke up for Jesus and asked Him to remember Him when He comes into His kingdom. He was promised that he would join Jesus in paradise. That one act of mercy by the criminal; when he rebuked the other criminal; gained him an eternity with Christ. This tells us that it is never too late. But we do not have to wait until we are desperate to turn to Jesus.
If you have struggled to keep to your Lenten observances, please take heart from the criminal who turned to Jesus at the last moment; and redouble your efforts. Read the Scriptures, fast, give to the poor. Our token effort is minimal compared to what Jesus has done for us. If you have been successful with your Lenten sacrifices, don’t rest on your laurels; the message is the same – redouble your efforts, read the Scriptures, fast and give to the poor.
This is not a time for us to keep our distance, we already know that following the sadness of Good Friday there will be joy on Easter Sunday. The disciples who kept their distance on that first Holy Thursday did not have that knowledge, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit; they had not yet encountered the Risen Christ.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC 557-560: Christ’s entry into Jerusalem
CCC 602-618: the Passion of Christ
CCC 2816: Christ’s kingship gained through his death and Resurrection
CCC 654, 1067-1068, 1085, 1362: the Paschal Mystery and the liturgy
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- The Year of the Eucharist, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
- Those attending the RCIA course at St Bede’s on Wednesdays.
- Our Confirmation candidates as they continue their preparations.
- For those who have been putting off going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; that they will have the courage to go and receive God’s forgiveness.
- For those who do not believe in God, that this Lent and Easter will open their eyes to the magnificent wonder of our Creator.
- For all those receiving Sacraments at our Easter Vigil Services, we wish them all a blessed week and a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- Fr Chris at St Joseph’s who is sick and Fr John & Fr Dominic who are supporting St Joseph’s at this time.