“Not just another Sunday, Palm Sunday!” By Lisa Valentino, Fiat Ventures

Palm Sunday

Are you a football fan? Even if you aren’t, I would bet you watch the Super Bowl. Many of us attend Super Bowl parties. We wear our favorite team’s jersey, we come prepared to root them on and we eat way too much food. It is not just the game and the teams that make the Super Bowl an event, but there are the commercials, the half time show, so much more. There is even a movement to make the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday. In other words, it is NOT just another Sunday!

As we head into Holy Week and Palm Sunday, I hope to look at that day differently than perhaps I have in the past. You see, Palm Sunday (you know, when we receive palms, perhaps we make crosses out of them) is not just “another Sunday”  because it is the start of something big……Holy Week! As Mass begins on Palm Sunday we raise our palms high and shout out “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We are remembering Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, as a huge crowd assembled and welcomed and honored Him. How quickly all of that changes; we see that change at Mass on Sunday as we enter Holy Week and read the Passion of our Lord.

As I reflect on the Gospel and all that Holy week brings I am reminded of how often the joy and excitement I feel in my relationship with our Lord can change just as quickly as the crowds in Jerusalem. In many ways we want the Lord to fulfill our needs and we place so many expectations on Him. When those expectations are attained are we appreciative and thankful? And just as important, when they are not, do we react as the crowd in Jerusalem did that day and turn our backs on Him?

Holy week is the perfect time to take a closer look at our relationship with the Lord. It is the perfect time to journey with Him to the cross and realize His great love for us, even when we turn away and from Him and deny Him as Peter did. It is the perfect time to reflect on the words of Jesus on the cross; “I thirst”.  He thirsts for us, you and I. He longs for us to come to Him in a real way, every day, more than just once a week at Mass. He thirsts for us. Just think about that, you and I are what will quench Jesus’s thirst, you and I will satisfy that thirst.

Where do your hearts lie? How will you enter fully into Holy week? I want to encourage you to participate fully in the Liturgies and events that your parish will have this week.  Participate in Holy Thursday Liturgy, spend time with Jesus in Adoration, pray the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and attend the service. Spend time on your own in prayer and draw nearer to the Lord.

Holy week is a great time to renew our “yes” or say yes for the first time. It is a week where we can reflect on Gods awesome love for us and remember who we truly are, children of God. When we reflect on Gods great love, when we realize our true identity, when we enter fully into our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, there is no way we can ever look at Palm Sunday as “just another Sunday”. (In fact, when we truly understand who we are and Gods great love for us no matter what, there is no way we can ever be the same.) It is the Sunday that leads us to Easter and a new life in our Lord! May this Palm Sunday be the start of something new for all of us.

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