Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week, the holiest week in the Church's liturgical calendar. Mass was offered by Fr Ray, as on every Sunday, for the people of the parish.
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ's arrival in Jerusalem.
In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.
Palm branches are widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic, it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war. A week later, Christ would rise from the dead on the first Easter.
During Palm Sunday Mass, palms are usually distributed to parishioners who carry them in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed and many people will fashion them into small crosses or other items of personal devotion. These may be returned to the church, or kept for the year. This year, it has sorrowfully come to pass that parishioners were absent from the liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday.
Because the palms are blessed, they may not be discarded. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and incinerated to create the ashes that will be used in the follow year's Ash Wednesday observance.
Pray for the restoration of our liturgical life and the return of public Mass, may this be for you a fruitful and blessed Holy Week.
With so many of us self-isolating or being withdrawn from the world, it is an opportunity for us to meditate on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to draw close to Him on His bitter road to Calvary, to find consolation in His merciful love.
May all of us honour the Passion and Death of the Lord our Saviour so that we may celebrate His rising from the tomb and victory over Satan, death and sin.
This seems very much to be the hour of the Church's Passion and tribulation in darkness. Darkness and gloom pervade our thoughts, but Our Lord Jesus Christ is the light which banishes darkness, fear and sorrow. He is with us until the end of time.
May His triumph over darkness and evil give us all hope and confidence that we may obtain eternal life and liberty to worship God once more in the Eternal Sacrifice of the glorious Son of God to the Eternal Father.
May we overcome our sinfulness and our pride this Holy Week, to rise with Him as we commemorate His Resurrection on Easter Day. The tomb could not hold back the Bridegroom of the Church, the Church also, the Lord's Bride will rise again!
(Some content courtesy of Catholic Online)