Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dominica II Passionis in palmis / Evening, 8 April 2017 / Church of St John

As our Lord entered the holy city, the Hebrew children, declaring the resurrection of life,
with palm branches, cried out: Hosanna in the highest.[1]

Catholic life, at various times and seasons, observes a number of liturgical processions. Three of them happen during this sacred week: the palm-bearing march we observed today; the Eucharistic procession after Mass on Holy Thursday; and the solemn entrance rites during the Easter Vigil. There are others which you can easily call to mind, and they are a noble characteristic of Roman liturgical life.  

But processions fulfill more than simply the practical purpose of getting the sacred ministers from point A to point B. On the contrary, there is a theological and spiritual weightiness to our processions that we do well not to miss. God is a mystery, a mystery that we enter by faith. This faith is a gift and it matures over time, like a procession gradually makes its way into the sanctuary. Similarly, God is holiness itself: weak as we are, men and women must approach God by stages, by a gradual growth in holiness.

[Most people seem to think of life as if it were a waiting room: a time we must spend just waiting around until our time is up. Or we view human history as nothing more than one event after another, leading up to we know not what. But neither picture is the true one. As individuals we are treading a procession toward God. Our life has a destination and a purpose. The same is true of human history: sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant, history is a long advance toward the perfect completion of Divine Providence.]

When you and I join a liturgical procession, the veil over the mystery of our lives is draw back a little: we see ourselves as we are, advancing through life toward God; this is the mystery that waits just beneath the surface of the humdrum and ordinary things of life. No detail is insignificant, no moment without import: a supernatural current runs through life incessantly, though most people seem unable to see.

Christ entered the holy city in procession, he did not saunter there. Ponder well the words of today’s responsory: “As our Lord entered the holy city, the Hebrew children, declaring the resurrection of life with palm branches, cried out, Hosanna in the highest.” You do not need me to remind you that we hear these very words at each holy Mass: Hosanna in excelsis. Mark my words: when we depart this life, and if we have been faithful to grace, then these words will be on our lips again. Hosanna in excelsis. In the presence of God we will imitate the Hebrew children in a song of victory. And this will not be a strange, unfamiliar thing to us: we shall have done this before. For the resurrection of life is but a fulfillment of each and every procession of Palm Sunday.        

[1] Ingrediénte Dómino in sanctam civitátem, Hebræórum púeri resurrectiónem vitæ pronuntiántes, cum ramis palmárum: Hosánna, clamábant, in excélsis. R/ Cum audísset pópulus, quod Jesus veníret Jerosólymam, exiérunt óbviam ei. Cum ramis palmárum: Hosánna, clamábant, in excélsis.

No comments:

Post a Comment