This coming week — Holy Week — can be hard. Sunday will be hard, to start, with a good 15 minutes of Gospel reading at mass, plus the procession of palms, and the homily…. Church will be long. And the kids will fidget in their seats while adults pretend not to.
Prepare yourself ahead so you can enter in. Because on Palm Sunday, we start to enter the gates of heaven as Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem.
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” the people cried. Hooray! we might say today. Here comes the king!
The people spread their coats and laid palms in the road before him.
Palms, like the palms of hands, like his palms spread out on the Cross.
Trodden … pressed … crushed.
If every Sunday is a “little Easter,” Palm Sunday we get the whole shebang. Someone asked me the other day: why do we have BOTH the Palm Sunday reading AND the entire Passion gospel on one day?
Because it’s one story, I think. Because we can’t have one without the other. Without Palm Sunday, and without Holy Thursday, we can’t bear the cross or understand the rising when it comes. Today (and this whole week) we get prepared. Our Mother Church is getting us ready for glory.
This Sunday, in that reading that is longer than all others, we get it all. Don’t allow a short attention span or worries about the day to rob you of what it contains. Enter in as you play your part in the reading. Hear what Jesus, who is the Word, has to say in the first and second readings and in the Psalm. Allow the Psalm response to draw you in to the Passion.
He did this for us. He did it for you. Don’t miss what “it” is.
The Church gives us the whole thing on Sunday, then she breaks it down for us throughout the week. Holy Week (and especially the Triduum – the trifecta of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter) invites us to walk with our Lord through his last days. I encourage you to prayerfully read the whole Passion on your own, at least once this week and maybe daily. Don’t just listen to what other people get out of it, hear it yourself. Put yourself where you can meet The Word himself in the words he has given, to help you better meet him at the Cross.
In the words of the Palm Sunday Procession…
Since the beginning of Lent until now
we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works.
Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church
the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery,
that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection.
For it was to accomplish this mystery that he entered his own city of Jerusalem.
Therefore, with all faith and devotion,
let us commemorate the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation,
following in his footsteps,
so that, being made by his grace partakers of the Cross,
we may have a share also in his Resurrection and in his life.
My prayers are with you this Holy Week.
© 2017 Sarah Christmyer
It’s not to late to join me in daily prayerful contemplation of Lent’s Sunday readings throughout the following week. Friend me on facebook, then ask to join the private group, “40 Days in the Bible.” You can read more about it and download my free reading plan here.
Another way to spend intentional time in the Word that is fitting for Holy Week is to pray the Penitential Psalms. Read more here and download free instructions or use my prayer journal, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: Ten Minutes a Day in the Penitential Psalms” (available in paperback or on Kindle from Amazon.com).