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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Before reflecting on today’s scripture, especially the Gospel, I want to bring to your attention something that has been in the bulletin for the last couple of weeks.  Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.  The commemoration is marked by the blessing of palms at the very beginning of the Mass.  Something that we have not been doing here at Mount Carmel is the Procession.

At one Mass, the Church urges the faithful to participate in a procession which begins at some place outside the church building and moves to the church, imitating the procession of Jesus into the Holy City, Jerusalem.  This is simply called THE PROCESSION.  Though this has been done in the last few years by the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way on the eve of Palm Sunday, we have never celebrated in this fashion at any of the regularly scheduled parish masses.

 This year, the parish will celebrate THE PROCESSION.  Parishioners are invited to gather at Veterans’ Field, near the band shell, at 11:00 AM, Palm Sunday morning, 3/29.  Presided over by Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda, palms will be blessed and then we will walk in procession from Vet’s Field to the church for the 12:30 Mass, which will be celebrated by Archbishop Hebda and concelebrated by the parish priests.  The procession will walk, on the sidewalk, down Maple Ave. and then up Ridgewood Ave. to the church, hopefully arriving there at 12:30.  As you can imagine, this will be a great opportunity for us to give witness to Jesus Christ, His place in our hearts and lives, and in our Catholic faith.  It will also give great witness to the vibrancy of Mount Carmel as a community of Catholic believers who take their faith seriously. I encourage great participation from the parish community, especially our parish families, parents and children, as we begin the start of the holiest week on the Christian calendar. For those who choose to attend the 12:30 Mass but not participate in the Procession, blessed palms will be available as you enter the church for the Mass.  

 Now, to today’s readings.  As you are invited to walk with Jesus next Sunday in His final entrance into Jerusalem, on this, the 5th Sunday of Lent, the Church invites you to journey with Jesus in the final event before He makes that journey into Jerusalem.  These closing verses of Chapter 12 mark the end of the so-called Book of Signs, the twelve chapters in the first part of the Gospel of John in which Jesus performs signs which point to Who He is – the Son of God.  In today’s excerpted text, the arrival of Greeks is the fulfillment of the prophecy unknowingly uttered by the Pharisees (in verse 19) that the whole world is “going after him.”  But their arrival gives Jesus the occasion once again to remind his disciples of his, now imminent,  suffering and death for the life of the world.  At Cana, He had told His mother that his hour had not yet come; now he announces His hour has come. 

 For Jesus, death is the defining reality of living.  It is the ultimate truth about the “world.”  It motivates our actions far more than we realize.  Fear of death underlies every other fear, every kind of clinging, every selfishness.  Fear of death leads us to cling to anything we can get our hands on, to seek the immortality of power, fame, fortune or even relationships.  Such grasping is what Jesus calls loving the life of this world.  If you choose to live your mortal life in this way, you will lose it.  If you love the world in this way, it will gain you nothing.  This is why Jesus urges His disciples (and us, as well) to hate the life of the world, to abandon this doomed desire for self-preservation.  He promises to lead them in a better way, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  The purpose of Jesus’ life is to show the way beyond this world, to the glory of the Father. 

But Jesus makes no pretense that this is easy.  It brings Him grief and anguish.  Fully human, He cannot but abhor the prospect of His own violent death.  In addition, He mourns the plight of those who have committed themselves to love of the world, choosing to cling to what He knows will lead nowhere.  But He knows the path which He must follow and the path His disciples must follow as well.  Only those who hate their own instinct for self-preservation, those who are willing to face down the enticements and manipulations of instinctual self-defense can be open to what God offers.

 As we begin to prepare for Holy Week, reflect on the priorities of your life, not just your sins.  Do your priorities witness to “the world” and its path of self-preservation or to “Jesus, “and His path to eternal life.

 God Bless,  
Fr. Ron

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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