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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Preparing for Palm Sunday

I continue to use Thursday to prepare for Sunday as the Sunday liturgies are so full. This Sunday is Palm Sunday and we begin what we call Holy Week. We will read Mark's Passion Narrative for the Gospel. Mark has eight scenes:
1. The arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethesmane.
2. Jesus on trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin.
3. The denials of Peter.
4. The trial before Pilate.
5. The mocking of Jesus by Pilate's soldiers.
6. The Way of the Cross.
7. The death of Jesus.
8. The burial of Jesus.
These are the eight scenes listed in the Little Black Book for Mark's Passion Narrative. Perhaps, as you listen to the Gospel, you will see other scenes, scenes you want to stop and reflect on during the day.

The liturgy celebrates first the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Often the palms are blessed outside of the Church and then there is a solemn procession with the faithful carrying palm branches singing "Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest."

This Sunday begins Holy Week. It is the holiest week of the year, but the world does not stop. Everything goes on - income tax, TV programs, regular work schedule...if I want this to be a "holy week" what do I do? Take time to think what would be pleasing to Jesus? It is good to try to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Holy Week, if you are a Catholic. Most Churches are having special Penance Services with many priests present to hear confessions.

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