An Easter Like No Other

I awoke this morning to brilliant sunshine piercing through my bedroom window and filling the area with radiant light. From the moment I opened my eyes, it was an instant reminder that Easter was here along with the glorious promise that this day brings. After weeks of darkness, it was the best sign that I could have asked for.

Today is a glorious day.

We will soon not forget the Lenten season of 2020. We were tested like never before as COVID-19 swept in and dramatically altered our lives, both in a general and spiritual sense. Although our preparation for today’s most holy feast was stunted in the respect that we couldn’t gather in churches to walk with Jesus through the desert, we still had every opportunity to make that journey in the solitude of our own homes. By choosing the latter, perhaps we drew closer than ever before.

Besides the challenges of Lent 2020, I will also fondly remember the gloriousness of it. Just a couple days after Ash Wednesday, Sidney was welcomed into the Church and Beau was baptized. Normally, candidates for initiation into the Church are confirmed at the Easter Vigil. However, because of our situation with moving across the country, Father Roger Morgan graciously allowed our family to receive these sacraments at the end of February, a couple weeks before the Coronavirus entered the picture. If not for Fr. Morgan’s kind exception, we wouldn’t know when Sid would be in full communion with the Church nor when Beau would be baptized.

What a special day that February 27 was.

Speaking of Father Morgan, he was fond of saying that today is not the end of Lent but rather the beginning of Easter. For the next 50 days we have the opportunity to celebrate the salvation we have all been given by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection. With the Covid backdrop still very much present, the good news of Easter should help keep our earthly challenges in perspective.

This is my favorite holiday and I miss my family greatly. However, just like the disciples weren’t separated from Jesus for long, the distance that exists between my wife and kids in relation to myself will soon be bridged.

Happy Easter everyone. He is risen, truly he is risen. Don’t Blink.

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, a significant date for Christians across the globe. When I think about Palm Sunday, I reflect on how the day is both joyful and sorrowful.

Today is Palm Sunday and Sloan has her palm.

You ever wonder why Catholics hold actual palms on this day? It is rooted directly in scripture. When Jesus returned to Jerusalem, he triumphantly rode a donkey into the city. Citizens cheered his return and laid out palm branches along his path. At mass this weekend, we start the service with this biblical recollection (it can be found in all four gospels). As the procession makes its way to the altar, we raise palms as well.

We commemorate Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

This was a glorious moment in Christ’s ministry, and thus a great moment for us to celebrate each year. But Palm Sunday also brings joy because it marks one week until Easter and it kicks off Holy Week. As the Lenten season concludes, we have hope that the Resurrection is upon us. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Holy Week begins today.

However, as I mentioned above, Palm Sunday isn’t only about happiness. In mass today, we hear two gospel readings. The first is of course the return of Jesus to Jerusalem. The second is the Passion according to Mark. After remembering how the human race celebrated Jesus, we meditate on how it crucified him.

Palm Sunday is both joyful and sorrowful.

Likewise, although the one-week mark until Easter brings us significant anticipation, it also brings us darkness as well. On Good Friday we will read John’s account of Christ’s Passion. This is a day of mourning, the day in which we observe the actual death of Jesus for our sins. It is a day of fasting and the service usually takes place at 3 p.m. to commemorate the time that Jesus died.

Our pastor at St. Andrew, Father Roger Morgan, encourages us to keep our palms displayed in our homes throughout the year. He urges us to look at them often to remind us that we are all like the crowds of Jerusalem, both capable of welcoming the Lord with joy, but also betraying him if he fails to meet our expectations.

We have palms in our house to remind us that while we celebrate Jesus, we can be just as fast to betray him.

Let me end with this: As we enter Holy Week, let’s make sure to meditate on how we have failed God. The next several days is the perfect time to intensify our Lenten promises or, if we neglected to do so, make some for this week. Now is the time to prepare ourselves for Easter. Don’t Blink.