Sunday, March 28, 2021

Make a Holy Week Schedule and Set a Holy Week Goal—like Jesus did!

(Palm Sunday 2021 (B): This homily was given on March 28, 2021 at St. Pius X Church, Westerly, R.I., by Fr. Raymond Suriani.  Read Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 11:1-10; Mark 14:1-15:47.)

[For the audio version of this homily, click here: Palm Sunday 2021]


Jesus began the very first Holy Week with a schedule and a goal.  He didn’t begin the week by saying, “If I have some extra time during the next several days, I suppose I’ll give it to my heavenly Father.  I’ll see what the week brings, and, if it’s convenient, I’ll do his will and save the world.”  No!  As he was riding that donkey into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus knew exactly what he planned to do on Holy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It was already written into his schedule!  He knew that he would celebrate the Passover with his disciples on Thursday night.  He knew where it would happen.  He knew he would institute the Eucharist and the Priesthood at that meal—his “Last Supper.”  He knew he would spend time later that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, and take upon himself the sins of the whole world.  He knew he would bring those sins to the Cross the next day, and pour out his precious blood so that they could be forgiven.  And—happily—he also knew he would rise from the dead three days later!  We know this because he had predicted it a number of times during his ministry.

Catholics and other Christians will tell you that they want to imitate Jesus in their lives.  That, of course, is a most-worthy ambition.  I wholeheartedly approve!  To signify this desire some will even wear bracelets and other assorted objects with WWJD written on them.  (WWJD stands for “What would Jesus do?”)  Well, when it comes to Holy Week, my brothers and sisters, we don’t have to wonder what Jesus would do, because we know exactly what he did do!  He made a schedule, followed it perfectly, and attained his goal—the salvation of the human race.

Today I offer a simple challenge: imitate your Savior in your approach to Holy Week.  If you’re really serious about following Jesus Christ and growing stronger in faith and charity, then do what he did on Palm Sunday: make a schedule and set a goal—a spiritual goal for yourself.  The goal may be to come to a deeper understanding of God’s love for you; it might be to find the strength you need to carry your cross; it might be to find the grace to be more charitable or patient.  The ceremonies of Holy Week are designed to help you attain this goal, so make every effort to put them into your schedule now!  In this regard, we will have our usual daily Masses on Monday through Wednesday.  We’ll also have Mass at 6 PM on Wednesday, preceded by confessions at 5.  We will have Morning Prayer Thursday through Saturday at the usual Mass times.  We will have adoration on Tuesday (as usual), and Stations Tuesday evening.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday at 7 PM, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the church hall until 11 PM.  On Friday we will have Stations of the Cross twice: once outside at noon; then, at 3 PM, here in church.  The celebration of the Lord’s Passion will take place on Friday evening at 7; and the first Mass of Easter—the glorious celebration of the Easter Vigil—will be held at 7:30 PM on Saturday night. 

That’s our St. Pius Holy Week schedule.  I give it to you today so that you can make your personal Holy Week schedule today!  Please, please, please: don’t wait to see what the week will bring before you do so!  If you make the mistake of waiting, other things will get in the way for sure.  And with the help of the risen Christ, may all of us who do make time for the Lord during these sacred days attain our goals by Easter Sunday—as Jesus attained his.