1) CHRIST LIVES!! He was dead, and He rose.
2) The liturgical symbols make Palm Sunday a reality NOW.
3) Christ enters as King. But His Kingdom is not of this world. His kingship is love and humility. Hence, He enters on a donkey. And the palms of glorification are thrown down and trodden underfoot as images of ourselves who, like Christ, have "come not to be served, but to serve" (Matt. 20, 28). We must throw ourselves down to serve to become kings.
4) He also enters into the Temple that is overrun with "those who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold the doves. And he said to them, 'It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of thieves'" (Mt. 21 12-13). Could this have timely relevance?
4) Finally, Jesus said: "I have come down from heaven, not to do my own [human] will, but the will of Him who sent me" (Jn. 6, 38). The divine Person of the Son of God takes on the human will of Jesus of Nazareth as His own, loaded with all the disobedient sins of all men (2 Cor. 5, 21) and obeys to death "even to death on a Cross" (Phil. 2, 8).
What we are about to encounter in Holy Week is the finale of God taking the complete humanity of the man Jesus of Nazareth into His divine Person Who is Protagonist of every human action: "He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin" (Gaudium et spes #22).
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This week is a time of contemplation, reflection, reassessment of our lives, a time to give such a God our full attention, to let Him touch our lives with His grace. We hope this parish retreat will offer you such an opportunity. We will speak of the call to holiness as lay faithful in the middle of the world: "These world crises are crises of saints…" (TW 301), that is directed to each of you. We will address the means to fulfill that call - mental prayer, the sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. And since this vocation takes place in ordinary life and work, I hope to give emphasis to the care of small things. The format will be a homily delivered during night prayer and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar.
Lastly, there will be priests available for confession during the service: Msgr Gusmer, Fr. Cirian from Holy Rosary Shrine; and myself afterwards.