Dear friends in Christ! The time of the year has arrived to celebrate the most significant and sacred event in our Church liturgical year. Palm Sunday, traditionally known as Passion Sunday, marks the beginning of the most important days we call Holy Week, when we retrace the journey of Christ from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to His suffering and death on the Cross, leading to His glorious resurrection at Easter for the redemption of our sin. This is a special moment for Christian believers to pray, meditate and reflect on the Paschal Mystery; that is, the sublime act of sacrifice by which Christ died and rose again that we may have life.
On Palm Sunday, we join Jesus and the disciples in Jerusalem where people joyfully acclaimed and honored Christ, waving palms and spreading them under His feet to the loud shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David.” However, this was short-lived and bittersweet, because it is about both joy and sorrow. The following days portray the darker side of the story, with accounts of betrayal, abandonment, confusion, fear, torture, suffering and death, with angry cries of “Crucify him.” It is the painful unfolding of Christ’s sacrifice, offering His life in loving obedience to His Father’s will in atonement for our sins.
However, the Holy Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil – are glorious days that manifest the heroic sacrifice of Christ, the promised Messiah disguised as a servant, offering Himself as the Paschal Lamb so we may be saved.
Holy Week reminds us of many events and circumstances in our own lives and relationships with God. Many times we give Him glory, honor and praise, only to realize that we can abruptly have a change of heart, turn our backs and betray Him with our sins. But goodness overcomes evil, light prevails over darkness, and God’s love is stronger than hate. With God there is hope and salvation in Christ. Let us then open our hearts and respond to God’s gracious call to conversion and reconciliation.
The liturgical celebrations during these days express very fittingly the inspiring story of our redemption. The Church invites all of us to unite our lives to Christ’s Paschal Mystery and to delve deeper into the mystery of His suffering, death and resurrection in fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. I strongly encourage everyone during Holy Week to join our faith community in celebrating the beautiful rites to commemorate the heroic and salvific sacrifice of Christ. The Lord warned us that this is the path of discipleship, that we must take up our cross if we want to follow Him. Please check your respective parish bulletins for the schedule of the liturgical celebrations.
Lent will soon be over and Easter will dawn upon us with a joyful message of hope and love, of liberation and new life. I pray that we all enter into the solemnity and sacredness of Christ’s passion and death with the hope that we will all share in His glory.
We adore You, O Christ and we praise You, for by Your cross and resurrection, You have redeemed the world!
Have a grace-filled Holy Week!
The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of Salt Lake City