Fr. Tim’s Homily for Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord-B

Isaiah 50: 4-7
Philippians 2: 6-11
Mark 14: 1 – 15: 47

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Wasn’t that a prayerful moment? We just listened to the moving Passion account from Saint Mark about our Savior’s betrayal and death. And there will be many other such prayerful moments for us during this Holy Week.
If you come to church on Palm Sunday and don’t come back to church again until Easter Sunday, you are going to miss a whole lot! This week’s events and times are listed on the parish website. And what a blessing for us. It has been two years since we have been able to celebrate Holy Week in-person.
By way of a personal invitation, let me just give you an overview of opportunities before us this Holy Week.

Morning Mass on Monday is at 9:00 AM at Saint Joseph and on Tuesday at 8:00 AM at Nativity.

As this pandemic is still with us and social distancing and masks are still required, all the events from Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday evening will be in Saint Joseph Church this year due to its larger size.
Observing proper distancing puts us at a capacity level of about 25%. For Saint Joseph Church, seating about 700 people, 25% is 175 persons. For Nativity Church, seating about 250 people, 25% is 62.5 persons.

On Holy Thursday evening, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins at 7:00 PM. That evening we celebrate 1) the institution of the Eucharist, 2) the institution of the priesthood and 3) Jesus’ mandate – command – that we wash each other’s feet in humble service. Holy Thursday Mass is followed by an opportunity for Sacramental Confession and for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 9:00 PM.

Good Friday, the day Jesus died for us, is a day of abstaining from meat for all of us who are 14 years of age and older; and also a day of fasting for those of us between 18 and 59 with one principal meal, two lesser meals and no snacks in between – but water, coffee, tea, other liquids are fine.
Good Friday is the only day of the year that the Church does not celebrate Mass. Instead we celebrate the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 12:00 Noon, which comes to us from 4th century Jerusalem and has three parts: 1) a Liturgy of the Word, with the Passion according to Saint John, 2) the Veneration of the Cross and 3) a Communion Service with hosts consecrated the night before at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion will be followed by an opportunity for Sacramental Confession until 3:00 PM.
If you are not able to be here for this Noon Service, I encourage you, as you are able, to keep the “Three Hours” [“Tre Ore”] from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 PM, when Jesus hung upon the cross, as a time of quiet and prayerful reflection in your homes.
At 7:00 PM Good Friday evening we will pray the Stations of the Cross.

On Holy Saturday morning, we will not be able to have the Blessing Easter Foods due to COVID-19 restrictions. Confessions will be heard from 11:00 AM until 12:00 Noon.
The Easter Vigil Liturgy begins this year at 8:30 PM with the Baptism and full Christian initiation of two adults.
And may I remind you that there is no 4:00 PM or 5:30 PM Mass on Holy Saturday here – or any place in the world! The Easter Vigil Liturgy is the first Mass of Easter and the earliest it can begin this year is 8:30 PM.

Our celebration continues Easter Sunday morning with Masses at 8:00 AM at Nativity, and at 9:30 AM and at 11:30 AM, both at Saint Joseph. Please note that there will not be a 5:00 PM Mass on Easter Sunday evening.
And I must remind you that, even on Easter Sunday, seating will be limited due to pandemic protocols. And the dispensation from our Sunday obligation is still in effect.

This is a week of grace. The Lord wants our whole hearts. If you come to church on Palm Sunday and don’t come back to church again until Easter Sunday, you are going to miss a whole lot!
Make this the best Holy Week that you have ever spent. And I guarantee you that you will be glad that you did.
Happy Holy Week, everyone!