Reflection for Palm Sunday

PalmSundayPath-Image1

Who is that?
It is the Messiah! Hosanna!

And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus reacted emotionally to the things He witnessed: When He saw the poor, the hungry, the ill, and people sinning. Scripture says repeatedly that “…He had compassion on them.

There are only two references, however, to Jesus crying, once at the grave of His friend Lazarus along with Mary & Martha. Jesus wept with them. He wept for them. He entered into their grief with compassion and He identified with their sorrow and despair.

This was the 2nd time, as He looked at the city of Jerusalem. He saw the faces, the mass of humanity crowding there and realized the emptiness of their lives. They had not heard the message of peace. They did not understand the purpose of His coming. The people had eyes, but they didn’t see. They had ears, but they didn’t hear. They missed the whole point of the message that God had given to them.

Certainly they waved palm branches, because that is exactly what their great-grandparents had done when the Maccabees overthrew the Syrian oppressors and reestablished worship in the temple. By waving palm branches they were showing that they expected Jesus to be another warlord, another general of the armies one who would lead them to overthrow the Romans. They were saying that they were ready to pick up their swords and shields. They were ready to go to war if He would lead them!

That wasn’t Jesus way. His was the way of love, not of war. The nation of Israel had completely misunderstood Jesus’ mission. He wept over them because these were His chosen people but they did not recognize or understand His as He walked in their midst. They saw His healing as sinister, His words as a challenge to their authority.

Both Matthew & Luke tell us that earlier Jesus had looked down upon the city crying out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

Today, like Jerusalem, we find ourselves in the presence of Jesus. If Jesus sees us as worried about ourselves, our lives and our fixes to every problem, He would have to cry. If Jesus sees people who recognize Him for who He is – The Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, He would rejoice.

What’s all the commotion – here we are, waving branches, because we recognize You Jesus, our Lord and God. Hosanna in the highest!!!

Reflection for Palm Sunday

Our Brother did this for us.
No words can express our gratitude.

“Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.”

How would we thank a brother or a sister who gave their all for us, who sacrificed everything? How would we recognize their gift, a gift so wonderful and remarkable that it gave us complete happiness, fulfillment, and a great life that lasts forever?

Our Lenten theme has focused on family. Now we are at the pinnacle of that Lenten journey. We enter Holy Week recognizing already that at the end we will walk away with a tremendous gift – a gift that our brother gave us.

Jesus said many times, “this is what I have come to do.” He came to sacrifice His life so that we would have life. He came to bear our sins in the form of a heavy cross, scourging, nails, mockery, and abandonment. This was NO ACCIDENT.

Jesus came with a plan – to show us that we have a heavenly Father who loves us so deeply that He would offer up His Son for us. He didn’t do this for show, but to create a real relationship, to break down the barriers we create to separate ourselves from Him.

St. Paul worked hard to convince the Romans of the power of what Christ had done. He said:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Our Brother came at the right time. He came to a family that either didn’t recognize their Father, or thought they were smarter than their Father. He came to a family that didn’t recognize Him. He came to a family that bickered with their Brother, and eventually killed Him. That’s all of us. And in return…?

In return we know we will live forever, are saved, washed clean. We know we are members of God’s family.

Let’s take time this Holy Week to sit with our Brother, to keep Him company in His time of suffering, abandonment, and need. Let’s take this time to whisper a thank you next to His grave so that on Easter morning we can greet the new day – the day we received our Brother’s gift.

Holy Week and Easter in Schenectady

A Friend needs you!

Someone’s in trouble and He needs you!

Imagine if a family member were to call and say, “I’m going through something, could you visit with me? It would really help. Please.” That’s exactly what happens during Holy Week. Jesus is facing the toughest week of His ministry on earth. He’s put it all out there, has told it like it is, and He’s being hunted down.

From the heights of adulation on Palm Sunday, to His last meal on Maundy Thursday, His agonizing death and burial on Good Friday, and His time in the tomb, He needs you to sit with Him, to reassure Him of your love and support. Most of His apostles have run off, the crowds are gone. You are the only family He has left. Our Lenten theme has centered on family. Jesus created us as Church, not to be an organization, but to be real family to Him and each other. We all need to step up in His time of need, so please come. He needs you this week.

Then, on Easter Sunday, come back. He wants you to celebrate with Him. Find the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and your heart filled. Don’t just look for an Easter church… Find the gift of salvation, love, community, family, the Word of God, and freedom with your Christian family at Holy Name of Jesus!

Holy Week and Easter service schedule

Sunday, April 1st: Palm Sunday

  • Blessing and Distribution of Palms, Worship Service, 9:30am.

Thursday, April 5th: Maundy Thursday

  • Reception of Holy Oils and Chrism, Holy Mass, Procession and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Stripping of the Altars, 7pm.
  • Private Devotion, 8:30 – 9pm.

Friday, April 6th: Good Friday

  • Church opens for private devotion, Noon.
  • Stations of the Cross, 1pm.
  • Bitter Lamentations, 2pm.
  • Opening of the Tomb, 3pm.
  • Liturgy of the Presanctified, 7pm.

Saturday, April 7th: Holy Saturday

  • Blessing of fire, holy water, renewal of baptismal promises, reading of the Exhortations, blessing of Easter foods/baskets, 4pm.

Sunday, April 8th: Solemnity of the Resurrection/Easter Sunday

  • Finding of the empty tomb, Resurrection procession, Holy Mass, 9:30am.
  • Easter Gathering/Święconka, 11am.

On behalf of Fr. Adam, the Parish Committee and with the deepest confidence in your love and support as members of the Christian family, I invite you to join us as we walk with and support our Lord through Holy Week and celebrate with Him at His resurrection.

— Deacon Jim