Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion  

Praised be Jesus and Mary, now and forever! Amen.

Holy week begins today. It is called Holy Week because we commemorate the divine fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. The activities of Jesus this Holy Week are all pointing to the Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery is the greatest as well as the highest expression of God’s unlimited love for the whole of humanity. With this, all parishes, especially our parish, will be once again very busy with church activities to solemnly commemorate the greatness of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Mother Church carries out this annual commemoration with the hope that our Holy Week celebrations will provide an opportunity for all of us to have a deeper personal relationship with Jesus who willingly gave His own life for our salvation. He saves us with great love. He loves us with so much generosity. He forgives us with unlimited compassion.

We begin this week with the celebration of Palm Sunday. Palms are blessed to signify our solidarity with Jesus who triumphantly enters Jerusalem, which is the place of His Passion and Death. The palms aren’t only blessed to put on our small altar at home or to place on our doorposts or to use as decoration. Rather, these palms remind us that we continue to welcome Jesus in our lives as He enters into our hearts every day. Holy Week is our meaningful encounter with Jesus. We journey with Him. This is a journey of love. God wants to journey with us so that we will surely reach our destination. Our destination is God Himself. We are on the way towards Him. We belong only to Him. God doesn’t want that we will separate ourselves from Him.

The narrative of the journey of Jesus towards Jerusalem tells us that God is determined to give us what we truly need. We need His love, His salvation, and His grace. And the long narrative of His Passion is a story that invites us to join with Him. Being with Jesus in his Passion is a way for us to enter the story of His life. His story should be our own story. Our life’s story should be constantly inspired by His. In this way, we will often have the golden opportunity to realign our way of life with His life of love.

My dearest parishioners of St. Jerome, let us participate in the celebrations of this Holy Week  with a desire to renew our lives by allowing Jesus to be our Savior every day. He saves us because He loves us. He loves us because we need His love along our journey. Let us be faithful to Him as He is faithful to His Father. Let us obey His commandments of love. Love has been the main reason why He faced His Passion, why He let Himself be crucified, why He died on the Cross, and why He resurrected after three days. God’s plan of salvation is also God’s plan of loving us until the end.

Holy Week is an invitation for us to become holy. Holiness can’t be achieved overnight. We can’t instantly have it. It is a way of life. It is a journey. It is a life with God. It is a life of grace. Grace sustains us in our struggle to achieve holiness. We are each a work in progress. We are saints in the making. We are expected to grow where we are planted. We are to bear good fruit and be productive in whatever activities we are trying to accomplish. I believe we can do all of these if we become faithful and constant in utilizing the talents God has given us.

Let us not allow this Holy Week to pass without letting it impact our spiritual lives. Holy Week is a perfect time for us to reflect on how God’s love is constantly working in our lives. We have been blessed to have God who loves us unconditionally. Now, this is the time for us to respond to that love by learning from Jesus’ Paschal Mystery so that in Him, we will become God’s conduits of grace, love, and hope.

May God bless you and your family.

Fr. Joel Ricafranca, RCJ

(Associate Pastor, St. Jerome Parish)