March 24, 2024

Dear Parish Family,

As we approach Holy Week, our thoughts turn to the contrast between earthly and divine definitions of kingship and victory. The Greek author Plutarch describes how kings are supposed to enter a city. He writes about a Roman general, Aemilius Paulus, who defeated the Macedonians. When Aemilius returned to Rome, his triumphal parade was extravagant and lasted three days. The first day showcased all the artwork his army had plundered. The second day displayed the captured weapons, and the third day featured 250 oxen with gold-covered horns, leading a parade that included the defeated king of Macedonia and his family. Aemilius himself rode in a magnificent chariot, wearing a purple robe interwoven with gold, and was accompanied by a large choir singing hymns, praising his victories (cf. http://www.sigurdgrindheim.com/sermons/king.html).

In stark contrast, we contemplate Jesus entering Jerusalem. Instead of a display of might and wealth, He chose simplicity and humility, riding on a simple donkey, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy. Kings rode donkeys in times of peace. This act was not just a sign of peace, as opposed to war, but a clear declaration of His kingship—one rooted in humility, peace, and service. It was a moment that redefined the meaning of victory and leadership.

This Holy Week, we are called to immerse ourselves in the spirit of humility, peace, and service exemplified by Jesus. His journey from Palm Sunday through His crucifixion was not marked by symbols of earthly power but by acts of love and sacrifice. The palms we receive on Palm Sunday are not mere symbols of His triumphant entry but reminders of our vocation to live out these virtues in our daily lives.

Holy Thursday deepens our journey into humility and service, inviting us to reflect on the Last Supper, where Jesus established the Eucharist and demonstrated servant leadership by washing the disciples’ feet. This night challenges us to embrace and embody the profound love and humility Christ showed us. Good Friday calls us to a somber reflection on Jesus’ sacrifice, inviting us to venerate the cross and meditate on the depth of His love and the weight of our sins. It’s a day that emphasizes fasting, penance, and gratitude for the gift of salvation obtained through Jesus’ suffering and death. Holy Saturday, a day of quiet anticipation, transitions into the Easter Vigil, where the light of the paschal candle dispels the darkness, symbolizing Christ’s victory over death. This service, enriched with Scripture, baptismal renewal, and the exultant singing of Alleluia, invites us into the joy and hope of the Resurrection. Easter Sunday culminates our Holy Week journey with a jubilant celebration of the Resurrection. The church, filled with flowers and Alleluias, calls us to rejoice in the new life and victory of Christ. It is a day that affirms our faith in the promise of our own resurrection and new life in Him.