March 26, 2021 - Pastor Message04/20/2021
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct’” (Matthew 16:24-27).
This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to accomplish his saving death and resurrection. It also marks our entry into Holy Week, our annual weeklong meditation on those saving events. Holy Week provides us with a special opportunity to follow Christ’s command to take up our cross and follow him by participating in the Holy Week services of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, especially the Easter Vigil, the most sacred liturgy of the year.
By fully and actively participating in these services, we walk each step with Jesus through his death and resurrection. The grace of this experience draws us into closer communion with him and strengthens our faith that we who share in a death like his will also share in his resurrection (Romans 6:5), which is really the whole point of Christianity. It is also gives us the grace to carry the crosses of our own lives illness, family problems, loneliness, whatever they may be because we know that Christ conquers all things, even death, which means he can certainly help us overcome our problems.
Last year, no one but the ministers were able to be in church for the Holy Week services, an experience I never want to have again. Consider this a friendly invitation to personally attend and participate in Holy Week this year. I know some folks are still concerned about Covid-19. We are taking every precaution to keep people safe, including limiting seating to fifty percent capacity, enabling and requesting social distancing and the wearing of masks, and providing an ample supply of hand sanitizer. You are probably more likely to get Covid-19 by visiting the hospital than you are coming to St. Boniface church. That said, I can offer no guarantees, and if you are still concerned about the virus, we will livestream our Holy Week services and record them. Whether in person or online, I invite all of us to participate in Holy Week. These are the high holy days of the year for us, unlike any other, and may the grace of these celebrations help us all to take up our crosses, each day, with Christ, for the salvation of the world.
Fr. Marc Stockton