And so at last this year we begin the beginning of this most Holy of Weeks, an intense liturgical and reflective week which is the pinnacle of the Christian year; a celebration of the raison d'etre of why we are Christian - to mark the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. To celebrate Palm Sunday SS102fm reflects on the Stations of the Cross to provide a moment of space and reflection.
You can listen to the full podcast of this weeks programme HERE.
Palm Sunday - SS102fm reflects on the Stations of the Cross
Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday as it is also called, begins Holy Week. This week is the “holy of holies” of the Christian Church Year. For today we begin our observance of the last days of our Lord’s early sojourn, “for us and for our salvation,” as He enters in the very heart of darkness, sin and death itself. The triumph of the humble King who enters Jerusalem, humble and riding on a donkey, is marked on Sunday with a triumph: shouting crowds and exuberant shouts of welcome and celebration, but in only five days, the shouts of welcome turn to shouts of anger, hate and a call for his death. “O, Dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken?” as the old Lutheran hymn puts it. Let us then fix our hearts and minds on prayerful watching and waiting during these days, as we again are led by the Holy Spirit to see in our hearts, and our minds, the evil sinful nature and the thoughts, words and deeds, which put our Lord on the Cross. And repenting of them, despairing of ourselves, we turn once more to Christ the Crucified One, on whom is placed the sins of the world: your sins, my sins. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
"When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem
and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately you will find an ass tethered,
and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply,
‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet
might be fulfilled:Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them,
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
while others cut branches from the trees
and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following
kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem
the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied,
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
This week we reflect on the Stations of the Cross. The Way of the Cross is the journey through the Passion and Death of Jesus through out the first Holy Week in the city of Jerusalem. To this day Christians of all denominations will walk the ancient streets of the Old City retracing that journey from the Mount of Olives to Calvary.
We reflect on the stations through the eyes of Mary as the mother of Jesus walks the road to Calvary. We take this opportunity to enter into an intimate journey of faith through a deep reflection that unites our pain and suffering with Jesus on the cross through the sorrowful heart of His Mother.
You can find the text of the reflections we used for this weeks programme HERE.
The podcast of the Stations of the Cross is available HERE.
You can read individual reflections on the Stations of the Cross from previous posts on SS102fm HERE.
"Let us resolve to make this week holy"
Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives.
The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture.
So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass' colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the "Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died.
We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.
Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship.
Let us sing, "Lord, have mercy," and "Hosanna." Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering church throughout the world -- in Rome and Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi.
Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable.
Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work.
We unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God's healing, God's forgiveness, God's unconditional love.
Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves.
May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.
During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another
Limerick Diocese on Facebook
As posted earlier in the week, Limerick Diocese has joined Facebook with its own page and Noirin Lynch from LDPC came on to tell us all about it. You can listen to Noirin's interview excerpted from the main programme here.
Limerick Diocesan Facebook page.
Liturgical odds and ends
Holy Week is the pinnacle of the liturgical year and as such out ranks any commemoration of the saints that may occur during that time so we wont be posting the saints of the week this week.
Resources for Holy Week
The weekly diocesan newsletter from LDPC has had lots of notices and resources over the last couple of weeks for Holy Week. You can find the newsletters HERE.
Easter Ceremonies in the Diocese
You can find out about the diocesan celebration of Easter including the details of the Chrism Mass (Wednesday 17th at St Joseph's Church at 7.30pm) and the broadcast of the Easter ceremonies from St John's Cathedral on the diocesan website.
Time for celebrating the Easter Vigil in Limerick Diocese
The Easter Vigil must take place after sunset. As summer time commenced on Sunday 30th March the Easter Vigil in the diocese of Limerick is to be celebrated no earlier than 9.00p.m.
Celebrations with Pope Francis in Rome
You can find out the details of the ceremonies which Pope Francis will preside over in Rome during Holy Week here. As usual we will post the main homilies of the week and the Pope's "urbi et orbi".