Sunday, March 20, 2016

Make Time For Jesus This Holy Week

(Palm Sunday 2016 (C): This homily was given on March 20, 2016 at St. Pius X Church, Westerly, R.I., by Fr. Raymond Suriani.  Read Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56.)

[For the audio version of this homily, click here: Palm Sunday 2016]

You could say that Jesus Christ “made time for us” during the first Holy Week 2,000 years ago.  He did that in order to save us from our sins.  He made time for us in order to make heaven possible for every human person who has lived, for every human person who is living, and for every human person who will live on planet earth until the end of the world.

Because Jesus did what he did during that first Holy Week—because he made time for us and endured all those sufferings we just heard about in St. Luke’s account of the passion—we have hope: a hope that extends beyond time!  We have the hope of an eternity full of joy and happiness and peace.

Which brings us to the key question for this Holy Week: Will WE “make time” for him?  Will we make time—some time—some quality time—for Jesus Christ during the next 7 days?

Or will it be “business as usual?”  Will we allow other things—other unnecessary, distracting things—to keep us from reflecting on and getting in touch with the sacrificial love of our Lord and Savior?

Now I know that for some people there will be an added challenge this year in trying to stay spiritually-focused from now until Easter Sunday: March Madness!  Because Easter is so early this year, Holy Week comes right in the middle of the very popular NCAA basketball tournament.

That could prove to be a very big distraction for some Christians—especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Now please don’t misunderstand—I’m not saying that if you’re a basketball fan you shouldn’t watch any tournament games from now until Easter.  (I will probably watch a few of them myself!)  But I am challenging you to keep things in perspective, and to keep your priorities in order.

That, by the way, will be a challenge for everyone—even the non-basketball fans among us, since we all have distractions of one kind or another to deal with in our lives.

And so my message to you today in this brief homily is simple: Be sure that you make at least as much time for Jesus Christ during the next 7 days as you do for basketball games—and other unnecessary amusements!

Let me now go over very quickly the opportunities you will have to “make time for the Lord” here at St. Pius during the next 7 days:

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we will have morning Mass, as usual, at 7am.  We will have Eucharistic Adoration all day on Tuesday.  We will have Stations of the Cross at 6:05 on Tuesday, after Benediction.  We will have Morning Prayer Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the regular Mass times.  And, most important, we will have the Liturgies of the Triduum on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be at 7pm on Thursday, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the church hall until 11pm.  On Friday we will have the celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 7pm, and Stations of the Cross twice: once outside at noon (weather permitting), and then at 3pm here in church.  And finally, we will have the first Mass of Easter—the Easter Vigil Liturgy—at 7:30pm on Holy Saturday night.  Masses on Easter Sunday will be at the normal Sunday times: 7, 8:30 and 10:30am.

My prayer at this Mass is that on Easter Sunday morning each of us will be able to look back at this week and say, “Yes, Lord, I did it.  Yes, Lord, I put you first.  Yes, Lord, I avoided the distractions. Yes, Lord, I made some quality time for you during the last 7 days of my life, and it was, without a doubt, time very well spent.”