Sunday, April 05, 2020

It’s a Unique Holy Week—and also an Opportunity

(Palm Sunday 2020 (A): This homily was given on April 5, 2020 at St. Pius X Church, Westerly, R.I., by Fr. Raymond Suriani.)

[For the audio version of this homily, click here: Palm Sunday 2020]

Holy Week will be a unique experience for all of us this year, that’s for sure.  I think it’s accurate to say that it’s both upsetting and disappointing that we won’t be able to gather in church this week as a community of faith to celebrate the most important liturgies of the Church’s liturgical year.

But rather than focusing on the negative and what we can’t do, I think the Lord wants us to focus this morning on the positive and what we can do—what we can do to make to make this upcoming Holy Week “holy” in spite of the restrictions we have to live with.

Many of you are out of work or out of school this week.  That means you’ll have a lot more free time in the next 7 days than you usually do.  How about giving some of that time to the Lord? 

  •          We’ll be live-streaming Masses on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as the Liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday.  You can watch these when they happen—or any time thereafter (on YouTube or Facebook).  
  •          The church will be open for private visitation throughout the week.  How about stopping in for a brief visit each day (or at least every other day)? 
  •          How about getting your family together at some point to watch “The Passion of the Christ,” or Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth”—or some other faith-based movie? 
  •          How about praying the Rosary every day (either with us via YouTube or Facebook—or on your own)?
  •          How about opening your Bible and reading one of the Passion narratives in the gospels?  Today we heard Matthew’s version of the Passion; on Good Friday we’ll hear John’s version (which we always do on Good Friday).  But that leaves Mark and Luke.  How about also reading either Mark’s or Luke’s account sometime in the next 7 days?  Or better yet, why not read them both?

Many of you have been participating in the “Best Lent Ever” program from Dynamic Catholic.  You’ve been doing that since Ash Wednesday.  And hopefully it has been a good Lent for you.  (You’ve certainly had the opportunity to experience the Cross of Christ in a unique way in the last few weeks!  The whole world has had that opportunity!)

My message here is to make this Holy Week just as special and just as spiritually meaningful.  It may not be your best Holy Week ever (since you won’t be able to be in church and receive the Eucharist), but it will still be an opportunity to grow in your relationship with Jesus and deepen your Catholic faith.

My prayer today is that we will all take advantage of this opportunity—this opportunity that the Lord, in his love and mercy, is giving us this year.