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Palms remind us...


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Ted Wolgamot, a writer on spirituality, psychology and addiction, wondered about the bits of palms he saw behind his grandmother’s religious art and other wall hangings, an occurrence in other homes as well. Reflecting on this practice, he wrote, “…these simple palms remind us of The Greatest Story Ever Told — a story so boundless that we Christians repeat it every year and revere it as the most significant spiritual event that ever took place. But maybe it’s also because the palms go even further than that. These palms also tell our story, the story of our own faith life.. . . The palms we now hold, today, (Palm Sunday) in our hands are new green leaves, reminding us that we are a part of this great story; that it isn’t just something that took place 2,000 years ago; that this drama is ongoing; and that we are each involved in our own way in being a part of the conspiracy and the betrayal that happened that night.

These palms can remind us, for example, that we have played the role of Peter in our own lives: lying and denying. They can remind us that we have played the role of John: abandoning. They can remind us that we have played the role of all the rest: arguing about who among us is the greatest. They can even remind us that we have played the role of Judas: betraying. But here’s the good news about these palms: They can also remind us of the miracle of reconciliation that can be ours. They can do that by reminding us of that great meal we celebrate together to this day, the meal at which Jesus told us, “I am among you as one who serves.” They can do that by reminding us of Jesus’ words of indescribable mercy spoken to the thieves crucified on either side of him:

“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” These palms that five weeks ago reminded us that we are dust, and to dust we will return, now remind us that we are also graced by love, an abundant love that goes before us and beckons us to follow.” (March 2016, Celebration, p.40, The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, Kansas City, MO.)

So once again we enter into the holiest of our Christian days. The Three Days, this Easter Triduum (Latin for “three days”), is the center, the core of the entire year for Christians. These days mark the mystery around which our entire lives are played out. In these days we (Ministry & Life Perspectives Continued) will once again, with renewed focus, remember the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we are also challenged toward a personal share in the passion of Jesus Christ.

I invite you to enter these days as fully as you can.

Try to make this time as free from social engagements and entertainment as possible. Plan simple meals. Consider extending the fast and abstinence of Good Friday through Holy Saturday, so that we can come to the Easter Vigil hungry and full of excitement, parched and longing to feel the sacred water of the font on our skin. (Consider bring a candle from home to be lit from the Easter Candle. Use this candle on your table at meal time or in prayer corner. Also bring along a container to take home the newly blessed water)

May these Three Days enkindle your faith and find you rejoicing in the great love of God.

Fr. Ron

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