Pastoral Message



Palm Sunday


Last week we celebrated the Feast of St Patrick and enjoyed a wonderful evening of celebration. Now as we enter Holy Week we are asked to “change gears” and become aware and attentive to the somber and very meaningful events that are to follow this week. We are asked to reflect that it was our sins that occasioned every form of violence Jesus sustained, the mocking crown of thorns, the whipping, the spitting, the betrayal not once but several times on the Way of the Cross. We are asked to be attentive to the fact that this innocent person came to suffer and die for us that we might have life.


When I was a seminarian, and later as a priest, I liked to spend time alone in St. Cecelia’s Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska. The Stations of the Cross at this Cathedral are not statues or wooden but raised and engraved figures on Golden Metal at each station. What is not noticeable to anyone who does not carefully inspect these depictions is that on Station 10 “Jesus is nailed to the Cross” is the depiction of the one holding the hammer who does not belong in the otherwise rather traditional images we are used to. In this Church and at this station the image was a self portrait of the artist himself as the one with hammer raised to drive the nails into the flesh of Jesus. The message is conveyed that this artist realized the enormity of the consequence of our sins in The Passion Story.


I cannot consider myself as worthily attentive to the drama of our Lord’s Passion and Death since I have seen this depiction and understood it until I reflect each year, and hopefully more often, that I am responsible for the Crucifixion of the Lord. The companion realization is that God loved us so much as to sacrifice his only begotten Son for me. The Son of God came to earth and left an earthly ministry rich with lessons on how to be a better person and a child of God. This Joy returns at the Easter Vigil after the sacrifice of our Lord’s life for us.


I urge each of you to join in the picture of events that are to transpire this coming Holy Week and to experience a felt joy as we celebrate the Resurrection next week.


Fr. Mike