All public celebration of the Mass and other services are canceled until further notice. But you are invited to join in online. During Holy Week all the services will be live-streamed. You can watch on Facebook or you can go YouTube and search for Fr. Shaji Joseph Pazhukkathara. When you watch the first time, please subscribe, it will automatically send you notifications. Let us keep distance physically for our safety, stay closer in our prayer, especially Holy Week celebrations.
Max Lucado, in his book, And the Angels Were Silent, reminds us that each of us has got a donkey that the Lord needs. He writes: Sometimes I get the impression that God wants me to give him something and sometimes I don't give it because I don't know for sure, and then I feel bad because I've missed my chance. Other times I know he wants something but I don't give it because I'm too selfish. And other times, too few times, I hear him and I obey him and feel honored that a gift of mine would be used to carry Jesus to another place. And still other times I wonder if my little deeds today will make a difference in the long haul.
We are towards the end of the Lenten journey. A question to ask ourselves, how is it going? The Church celebrates today as both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday and we enter into the Holy Week, and welcome Jesus into our lives, asking him to allow us a share in his suffering, death, and resurrection. In order to receive a new life, there is need for a death to happen. Death and resurrection happen in our day to day life.
On Holy Thursday there is a Chrism Mass in Cathedral Churches because it is a solemn observance of Christ's institution of the Eucharist and priesthood. In order to make the opportunity for most priests and laity to attend this Mass, the Bishop may celebrate prior to the holy week, but this year it is going to be later due to our present situation. At this Chrism Mass, the bishop blesses the Holy Oils.
The Holy Thursday liturgy in the parish communities, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown. After the Holy Thursday evening Mass the Blessed Sacrament carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain 'entombed' until the communion service on Good Friday. And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas. Again this year, we won't have any procession. Blessed Sacrament will remain in the Tabernacle. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.
Holy Week can become "holy” by active participation in the Holy Week liturgies. This year again we have limitations for active participation. But spiritually it could be more wanting to be there and join in the online celebration. The celebration of liturgy reminds our life. Holy Thursday institution of Eucharist Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my body broken for you; this is my blood and shed for you” and we see on Good Friday that sacrifice is completed on the cross. He broke himself for us and fed us. This is also the week when we should lighten the burden of Christ’s passion as daily experienced by the needy people through our corporal and spiritual works of mercy; break and share.
Good Friday we start nine days of the novena for Divine Mercy Sunday. Good Friday we see Jesus opened his heart on the Cross poured his love and mercy for each one of us. Let us look at the cross and prepare this week for Easter!
I take this opportunity to thank all those who mailed or dropped off contribution envelopes. We need to pay the bill, prepare for the future. Your generosity makes a difference. I won't see you for some time, but let us be united in prayer. Have a blessed Holy Week!