Sunday, March 28th, 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. Holy Week, 2021 has begun and is the holiest week of the Liturgical Year. This Sunday we read about the climax of Christ’s mission here on earth and we are reminded that Jesus is the model for us to imitate as Jesus’ disciples.

This Sunday’s First Reading – from the prophet Isaiah – portrays a suffering servant. The Jewish community saw this suffering servant as the nation of Israel. For us Christians, the suffering servant, in many ways, foreshadows what Jesus endured during His passion. The word “passion” literally means to suffer with. In Jesus’ passion, He did not deserve to be so cruelly tortured, He humbly submitted to them. The purpose for Jesus’ birth and His life in this world was to fulfill His Father’s mission. We, too, play a unique role in our Father’s mission by bringing people to Christ. How do we accomplish so grand a mission? It simply begins with the witness of our lives. In other words, by our words and example we witness to the presence of Jesus in our heart and life.

Today’s Gospel shares the account of Jesus’ final days on earth. How He lived them says a great deal about how we should live ours as faithful Catholic Christians and as Jesus’ modern-day disciples or followers. Jesus did many things in these last days, and they all revolve around prayer and service — two trademark actions of a good and faithful Catholic. He hosted a Passover meal in which He gave us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. He intensely prayed to His Father. Lastly, He submitted to humiliation, torture, and death for our sake, and called out from the cross to God the Father in His weakest moment. We might not be called to the same type of prayer and service, but we are all called to commit time in daily prayer with our Lord, and to serve our family, our Catholic community, and our neighbor.

As we begin this holiest week of the year, I invite each of us to make the most of it. On Monday through Wednesday, we gather in the Church at 5:30 AM for Morning Prayer. On Thursday through Saturday, Morning Prayer will be at 8:30 AM. There will be additional times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation – confessions – on Monday morning after the 8:30 AM Mass, and on Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings after the 7:00 PM Spanish Masses. On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 PM. See the parish website, the parish bulletin, and the parish Facebook page for more information on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday schedule of Masses and services.

As we embark on this holiest of weeks, let us make some time to reflect on Jesus’ life, His passion, His death, as well as His resurrection, because He is our model to imitate – to be a Christian is to be Christ-like – as we strive to be more like Him each day.