The Relevance of Holy Week

Palm Sunday
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Today we begin our Holy Week. As practicing Catholics we all know the story about Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. As good Catholics we all believe that Jesus was sent upon this earth to save us, to make us one with Him through baptism and to make of us his disciples. We believe all of these facts. We also realize that these events happened over 2000 years ago. The question of challenge for us today, for us this week, is to reflect upon what that means for us in the year 2020. If Jesus is but a person of history the question of this big event leaves us with a big “so what”. So what, that this event took place, so what if we all believe this event took place if it is but a piece of history with no relevance for us here today, at St. Paul’s and St. John’s in the year 2020?

This same question was posed to me by Fr. Dan Crosby at a retreat I attended at St. Anthony’s some years ago. It is a question all of us must answer for ourselves. We need to reflect upon Jesus and whether the happiness of Palm Sunday, the Passion of Christ, the Resurrection, has relevance for us this year. If no relevance can be found we can still believe in these historical facts but it leaves us with a void, a “so what” in our lives.

Ponder this: When we celebrate our marriages and anniversaries, our birthdays, and baptisms are we not experiencing the joy of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem seeing everyone joyful and honorous of His presence? Or how about when our Church gathers to celebrate Christmas through our school children. Are we not proud of this celebration as Jesus was proud of those who honored him on Palm Sunday? When we fail that exam, loose our job, or are refused admission to the school we so want to attend, or maybe hit with serious illness, with its pain and suffering within our lives and within our families, are we not experiencing the Passion of Christ? Look at how the Coronavirus has tuned our lives upside down, restricted our work, our lives and freedoms and yes our faith. Don’t we all cry out, “Lord take this cup from me?” When death occurs do we not experience the evil that exists within this world? Don’t we feel a loss, an aloneness from this experience? Is this not the experience of the Cross of our Brother, our Teacher, our Redeemer that took place so many years ago? After we surrender our will to that of the Father’s do we not come to fulfillment, to peace, to the beginning of new life; “a resurrection” as displayed to our Parish when we witness our Parish family members making their transition from this life to a move to the Father’s House? We no longer have death to fear, pain and suffering to fear, because of the Resurrection, because of Easter Sunday.

Part of life is the experience of ups and downs. The “ups” build us up to help us deal with the lows of life. It makes us glad to be alive. The “lows” temper us, they make us realize we are finite in body they make us dependent upon support from God and from others who comprise the body of Christ. One of my very special friends who is experiencing a “Good Friday” event in her life now, shared with me the fact that her event has allowed her and her family to experience the gift and importance of “community”, the importance of having the “Body of Christ” support her and walk with her and her family while she experiences, first hand, the Passion of Christ. The Passion, Death, and Resurrection is not history, it lives with us daily, it allows us to overcome evil, and yes even the fear of death. It allows us to celebrate the joy of Easter throughout all our lives. Let us thank God for the gift of this Holy Week of relevance in our lives.

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