Sunday, April 13, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) is one of the most dramatic Sundays of the year in its presentation of the word.

At the very beginning of the Mass, there is a brief ceremony including the blessing of the palms, and within the ceremony is a Gospel reading. This is the only liturgy in the entire church year that includes two Gospels.

The first Gospel is a recounting of the "entrance into Jerusalem" by Jesus and his apostles. It is glorious. The crowds are gathered, shouting, waving palms, and exuberantly rejoicing as Jesus enters their city. They shout out “Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David!” They want to make him king.

Within half an hour into the liturgy, the same crowds are shouting: “Crucify him!” This represents a week in the life of this city. They are practically adoring him one day, then condemning him to a horrible death sentence just a few days hence.

Apart from the amazing drama, the sacred text reveals a frightening reality within the human condition: people are fickle. They love, they hate, they love, they hate. Are we really capable of such extremes? Are we able to be manipulated, controlled, deceived, and deceive others, so easily?

History is made on this day as we re-tell it on Palm Sunday. History is also repeated again and again with tyrants, cruel and controlling leaders, unjust and hate-filled governments, political parties without heart, and graft and corruption run amok.

This day is our day. This day is everyday. This day is so defining of the fall that corrupts human nature to the core. This day is the reason that another day soon to follow — Easter — is even more important and even more defining.

Salvation, life, hope, newness, renewal, metanoia-conversion: all of this is indeed Easter! This Holy Week that is upon us is our week. We must pause, absorb, hear, feel, receive, unlock, discover and understand what has been given to us, what has happened to us.

This is indeed drama, and it is more than drama. This is the key to finding abundant life and knowing that life forever. The forbidden Lenten A-word returns in all its glory at the Easter Vigil and will be our Easter song.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking something like this message today, when hearing the Gospel in Aurora CO. Although I no longer live in LA, I like checking in on St. Bernard's Blog, as a reminder of the Sunday gospel. Thanks father Perry.

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