• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 22 March 2018 09:20

Palm Sunday 2018

Written by Fr. Larry Nemer SVD



Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150This is the only Sunday in Lent that has two names: Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.  This is because the liturgy celebrates two aspects of the mystery of our redemption that we are to keep in mind during Holy Week.

 When I was an altar boy I always looked forward to Palm Sunday.  I loved the processions with everyone carrying their palms.  The singing was lively and there was a sense of joy in the celebration.  It was fun to watch people walking home with their palms, we children continuing to play with them on the way home.  But then came the Mass and everything turned “serious”.  No more joyful singing.  The whole Passion was read, and for me at that age it seemed to go on and on and on.  I definitely preferred  the first part of the celebration.

After I was ordained I became a chaplain to a group of Sisters and led the celebration of Palm Sunday with them several times.  I found it very challenging.  During the blessing of the palms and the procession I tried to give the Sisters some sense of the joy and excitement that the apostles and followers of Jesus must have felt as the crowds came out from the city to welcome Jesus arriving on a mule (it was normal for the people to go out and welcome someone “special” who was coming for the Passover with palms and songs).  They must have rejoiced in the fact that the people finally recognized who Jesus was and expressed the hope that as the Son of David he would restore the Kingdom of David.  Happy days would soon be coming!

But then after reading the Passion I tried to give the Sisters some sense of what the apostles and followers of Jesus must have felt on that week-end after he was betrayed into the hands of the Jewish leaders and the Romans.  All their hopes were dashed.  Most of his disciples fled or went into hiding; they did not want to be recognized as His followers.  Many of his followers lost faith in Him and also left Him.  After all He had failed to establish the Kingdom of David that they expected.  He did not defend Himself.  He was humiliated, rejected, tortured and put to death as a criminal.  Eventually He was to prove Himself to be the Victor – the King in a new and different kind of Kingdom than they were expecting – but they did not know that on Friday night.  All they could see was the cross and failure; many of them had given up all hope for a new Kingdom.

So on this Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday we celebrate with joy the great hope that was expressed in the welcome given to Jesus on his arrival in Jerusalem, and we accept the sadness of the crushing of those hopes and the reality of the Cross and remember that Jesus said that we His followers would also have to bear suffering and the Cross.  But in the back of our minds we remember that Easter will follow and that victory will come out of the Cross we are asked to carry.

I was taught much about this mystery that we all are called to live by a Sister in the Community for whom I was the chaplain.  I knew her from the time she entered and taught her as a “Junior Sister”.  Years later I was with the Community to celebrate the Holy Week week-end with them.  She had just completed her nurses’ training and was hoping for a mission appointment when she was diagnosed with “galloping multiple sclerosis”.  As a nurse she knew what that meant – that by 35 she would be in a wheel chair, by 40 she would be confined to a bed, and by 45 would probably be dead.  We spent a great deal of time that weekend talking and crying together.  She had hoped so much to serve God in the missions as a nurse, and now she had to face the cross given her – the failure of all her hopes.

But in the course of the following years she began to be at peace with her cross.  And she never lost her hope.  She always had a lovely smile on her face.  Not only the Sisters but many friends from the surrounding area would come and visit her.  They all walked away strengthened by her faith and continuing sense of hope.  I visited her two weeks before she died.  She said to me: Larry, do you know what is the first thing I am going to do when I get to heaven?  I said: No, Chris; what?  She said: I am going to run!  She had been a wonderful athlete and for the last ten years of her life she could not even walk.  I realized then that her passion and cross were not the end of everything; she looked forward to the victory that was promised us by Easter.


Last modified on Friday, 23 March 2018 12:58