Parish
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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks both the end of the five weeks of lent and the beginning of holy week with the commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It has been a custom in St. James to use the first form gathering in front of the parish hall and led by the servers and myself, the Presider, process to the church with the palm branches held aloft and waved. The shouts of joy and exultation, “Hosanna to the Son of David” is a prayer of supplication, a humble plea letting Jesus be the king that runs and governs our lives and not the external forces, the powers that be. It doesn’t mean though we quit our jobs, sit in the porch and wait for a generous person to feed us. We have bills to pay, children to raise and families to love. What the procession gets across is that in everything we do, God is incorporated and glorified. If I’m allowed to make a wild guess, it’s like the angry and distressed Egyptians tired of the 30 year regime echoing, down and out with Mubarak! In with whatever…

The only difference is that they have guns, we don’t. What we have is a simple and  inexpensive palm branch put in the fridge as soon as it was delivered to keep it fresh and avoid getting dry. Even if you sell it in ebay with free shipping, it won’t hit the market. No one will place a bid because it’s cheap. And yet, the blessed palm branch is our weapon against any spiritual and religious threat. Many of us will take it back home not much so much as a decoration but a symbol of strength.  

Palm Sunday for many is a day when the people get a chance to hear the never ending Gospel, The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. By the time, the deacon says, The Gospel of the Lord, and all respond, Praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ, some may find, Thanks be to God, soothing, instead.

The Passion is proclaimed on Palm Sunday to provide an account of salvation history for us to see clearly the unfolding of God’s love in the worst situation of all time: betrayal by a friend, denial, arrest of an innocent person, put into trial and death. What Jesus went through was the drama of life in which all of us are involved to some degree or another. We belong in the scheme of things. Pick your favorite character. Judas, the betrayer of a close friend and hanged himself when he couldn’t handle the guilt; Jesus, the innocent victim whose last words were forgiveness, zero violence and non-retaliation; Peter, the chief of staff who was in constant denial of his association with Jesus knowing it could have led him to death; the silence and fear of the disciples; the vehement criticism of the crowd; and Pontius Pilate, the Governor, though it was clear, he was part of the deal, didn’t want to claim any responsibility, just to name a few. Welcome to the drama of our salvation. Amen.

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, currently assigned as Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

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