26 March 2013

Hosanna filio David...

True story - I sat down to write a Palm Sunday post last night and promptly fell asleep with the computer in my lap (only to wake up an hour later when it fell on the floor...).  Ah, the life of an overworked father of small children.

Most of what I was going to write yesterday I formulated during Mass.  Now, of course, I can't remember a lot of it, so here are a few random Palm Sunday thoughts:

  • Aside from Christmas and Easter, the two days that get the most people to show up for Holy Mass are Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.  I can only surmise that for some reason, more people come when they can get something at Mass.  Because, y'know, the Eucharist isn't anything special.

(Not as important as a piece of tree, apparently.)
  • Someday, I'm going to write a whole post on processions and why they are such a marvelous expression of our faith.  Suffice to say, if you have never experienced a real procession, find one at the next opportunity (I hear Corpus Christi is coming soon).
  • The bulk of what I was going to post for Palm Sunday wasn't about Palm Sunday at all, but about the Passion, which I got to hear chanted in Latin in all of its twenty-minute glory yesterday :-).  It struck me as I was reading along that the Passion story really encompasses all of human relations with God in the behavior of the various persons in the story:
    • The crowd, which bullies Pilate into sending Jesus to his death, is like the world, which hates Jesus and the Gospel message (though, of course, we have heard this already from Jesus himself).
    • Judas, who pays lip service to Jesus but ultimately betrays him, is like those who claim to be part of the Church, but betray her teachings on abortion, same-sex "marriage", contraception, and a whole host of other issues.
    • Peter, who stands with Jesus for almost all of his public ministry but becomes weak and ashamed when Jesus is arrested, is like so many of us, who are faithful to the Gospel when it is in season, but do not boldly proclaim the truth when it is out of season. 
    • And through it all, Jesus remains faithful.  He did not become angered with the crowd's intransigence, Pilate's indifference, or Judas's betrayal.  After the Resurrection, he allowed Peter the chance to make amends for his denial and affirms Peter as shepherd of the Church.  As in all of salvation history, God is infinitely faithful, loving, and patient even when we do not deserve it.
On the topic of faithfulness, I leave you with a beautiful part of an ancient hymn:

Crux fidelis,
inter omnes
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!

Faithful Cross!
above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!

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