Friday, April 20, 2012

New Eagle Scout

On a beautiful Monday evening, Brian Zak became our parish's newest Eagle Scout (along with two other young men from his troop who are not members of our parish).   Attaining the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America is not an easy thing to accomplish - but it is one of those things that, since he was a little boy, Brian wanted to do.  Now, his desire has been fulfilled.  Congratulations, Brian!

Mrs. Zak pins on the Eagle

On Sunday afternoon another young man of our parish family will hold his Eagle Court of Honor here at Saint Andrew Parish  More on that later...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

7th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's Election

It was 7 years ago today that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals.  Here is a news story of his election as Pope...

In addition, the Unites States of America sent its best wishes to him:

On the Anniversary of the Election of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 18, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the seventh anniversary of his election. Pope Benedict has worked tirelessly to unite people of different beliefs through a shared faith in humanity and peace.

For the past twenty-eight years, the United States and the Holy See have worked together to promote peace, fight hunger, alleviate poverty, and curb the flow of trafficking in persons. On this anniversary, we reflect on all that we have accomplished, and recommit ourselves to the work that remains. Congratulations and best wishes as you continue a historic tradition of tolerance and global understanding.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What is Divine Mercy?

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others.  Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others.  He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C - Completely trust in Jesus.  God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust.  The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in this web site and other publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior.  Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.

Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Easter Octave

The "Alleluia" of Easter Sunday is not confined to one day - but, because our cries of jubilation continue, they are extended through 8 days - the Easter Octave.  What is this about?  Eight days of Sundays?  Where did and "octave" come from.  These are the questions I've tried to answer for you this week.

Origin of the "Octave"
The number 7 played a very important role in Jewish life.  Every seventh day is a sabbath; the seventh month is sacred; the seventh year is a sabbatical year.  The jubilee year was brought about by the number seven multiplied by seven; many Jewish feasts lasted seven days, the feast of Pentecost was seven times seven days after the Passover; the feast of the Tabernacles lasted seven days, the days of convocation numbered seven (Willis, "Worship of the Old Covenant", 190-1; "Dict. of the Bible", s.v. Feast and Fasts, I, 859). 

However, the octave day, without having the symbolic importance of the seventh day, also had its role.  The eighth day was the day of circumcision (Genesis 21:4; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 1:59; Acts 7:8 etc.).  The feast of Tabernacles, which lasted seven days, was followed on the eighth by a solemnity which may be considered as an octave (Leviticus 23:36, 39; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18); the eighth day was the day of certain sacrifices (Leviticus 14:10, 23; 15:14, 29; Numbers 6:10). It was on the eighth day, too, that the feast of the dedication of the Temple under Solomon, and of its purifications under Ezechias concluded (2 Chronicles 7:9; 29:17).  Many speculate that the custom of celebrating the octave of feasts dates back to the days of the Apostles themselves, although there is no solid evidence to support this speculation.  At first the Christian feasts had no octaves.  Sunday, which may in a sense be considered the first Christian feast, falls on the seventh day; the feasts of Easter and Pentecost, which are, with Sunday the most ancient, form as it were only a single feast of fifty days.  The feast of Christmas, which too is very old, originally had no octave attached to it.  However in the fourth century, when the idea of the fifty days' feast of the paschal time began to grow dim, Easter and Pentecost were given octaves.  Possibly at first this was only a baptismal custom, the neophytes (those newly baptized at the Easter Vigil) remaining in a kind of joyful retreat from Easter or Pentecost till the following Sunday (and thus the origin of "White Sunday" which we will celebrate next weekend during the 10:45am Mass when the neophytes leave their albs at the altar at the conclusion of the Mass).   The octave seems then to have developed of its own accord.  

The first octave mentioned in liturgical history is that of the the dedication of the Churches of Tyre and Jerusalem, under the Emperor Constantine (the Roman emperor whose conversion to the Catholic faith made Christianity legal in the Empire - after years of persecution) in the 300's, and these solemnities, in imitation of the dedication of the Jewish Temple, lasted eight days (Eusebius, "De vita Constant"., III, xxx sq.; Sozomen, Church History).  This feast may possibly have influenced the adoption of the octave by the Christians.  From the fourth century onwards the celebration of octaves is mentioned in liturgical history much more frequently.  II.26

Celebration of octaves in ancient and modern times

The liturgy of the octave assumed its present form slowly.  In the first period, that is from the fourth to the sixth and even seventh century, little thought seems to have been given to varying the liturgical formulæ during the eight days.  Early liturgical books simply mention that on the octave day the prayers of the feast is repeated.  The dies octava is indeed made more prominent by the liturgy.  The Sunday following Easter (i.e. Sunday in albis) and the octave day of Christmas (now the feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1) are treated very early as feast days by the liturgy.  Certain octaves were considered as privileged days, on which work was forbidden - even the civil courts and theaters were closed on these days.  After Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas had received their octaves, the tendency was to have an octave for all the solemn feasts of the Church year. 

The Greeks (or Eastern Churches) also admitted the celebration of octaves into their liturgy.  Although having the same origin as the Latin octave, their octave celebration differs in it occurs sometimes on the eighth, and sometimes on the fifth, the fourth, or the ninth day.  

The Easter Octave in Particular 

The Octave of Easter is really 8-days of Sundays.  Every day we have a different account of the resurrection from each of the Gospel writers.  These various readings encourage us to constantly reflect on, as we've been asking, what Christ has done for us.  We also see how different people responded to the Lord's resurrection, and the different places and people to whom He appeared.  Each day we sing the Gloria, the Sequence before the Gospel, speaking of "this Easter day" in the preface of the Mass and beginning and ending Mass with an Easter Song.  Also this week we begin praying (and I hope soon, singing) the Regina Caeli (the "Queen of Heaven") rather than the Angelus prayer just prior to Mass.

This weekend, as I mentioned, is what was formerly called "white Sunday" - now, following it's institution by Blessed John Paul II, Divine Mercy Sunday. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Easter is the feast of feasts, the unbridled joy and gladness of all Christians.

In the very center of the Mass, the great prayer of thanksgiving, from the first words of the Preface, expresses the unrivalled motive for this joy: if it is right to praise You, Lord, at all times, how much more so should we not glorify You on this day when Christ our Passover was sacrificed, for He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world, who by His Death destroyed our death and by His Resurrection restored our life.  Easter means, then, Redemption obtained — sin destroyed, death overcome, divine life brought back to us, the resurrection of our body which is promised immortality.  With such a certitude, we should banish all trace of sadness.

Today's Psalm says, "This is the day which the Lord has made."  Throughout the octave we will sing of the unequalled joy which throws open eternity to us.  Every Sunday will furnish a reminder of it, and from Sunday to Sunday, from year to year, the Easters of this earth will lead us to that blessed day on which Christ has promised that He will come again with glory to take us with Him into the kingdom of His Father.

"I rose up and am still with Thee."  After His labors and His humiliations, Christ finds rest with His Father.  "I am still with Thee."  This is perfect beatitude.  Through His cross He entered into the possession of eternal glory.  Christ has gained the crown of victory; through Christ men also win their crowns of victory.  Humanity was under a curse and subject to the wrath of God.  Now that they have risen with Christ, their guilt has been destroyed.  "I rose up and am still with Thee."  The liturgy places these words in the mouth of the Church that she may pray them with Christ.

"The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment."  The resurrection of Christ is the judgment and condemnation of those who have turned away from God.  This judgment was prefigured by the angel who passed through the land of Egypt destroying the first-born of the Egyptians. The  Israelites marked the doors of their houses with the blood of the paschal lamb.  We are the new Israel, and "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed."  We mark ourselves with His blood, which we enjoy in the Holy Eucharist.  We have been pardoned, we are saved, we shall live.

"He is risen."  The resurrection of Christ is a pledge of our own resurrection.  It is the foundation upon which our faith rests.  It is the guarantee of our redemption and God's assurance that our sins are forgiven and that we are called to eternal life.  "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein.  Give praise to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.  Alleluia."  "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. . . . The Lamb redeems the sheep.  Christ, the innocent One, hath reconciled sinners to the Father." 

Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bishop McFadden's Easter Message

Holy Saturday Waiting...

Holy Saturday...anticipation!

Holy Saturday is the period of Holy Week when we remember Jesus' entombment.  It is a preparation day.  Today is a day of quiet and prayerful reflection on the true gravity of the crucifixion and Jesus' redemptive sacrifice.  Throughout the world our Churches are empty of the Blessed Sacrament and quiet in anticipation of Easter's triumph over darkness and evil, sin and death.

The quietness of the day permits us to ponder the implications of physical death and how each of us in life and death, affects others.  The day before Easter also permits the Elect (our Catechumens) a period of solitude and reflection as they prepare to participate in a most meaningful manner in the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist). After the frantic activities of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday & Good Friday… Holy Saturday is a pregnant pause before the realization of the resurrection is realized on Easter Sunday morning.

This period should be prayerful and quiet, as well as contemplative of the chronological and historical events that we call the Passion.  This day should also provide anticipatory happiness as we prepare to celebrate the New Passover.  Holy Saturday permits us to deeply saturate our parched theological spirits in images of the waters of Baptism, and symbols of restored life.  This evening Mother Church, using all new words filled with beautiful imagery, will initiate a new fire and the Paschal Candle will stand in our churches providing radiant light and reminding us of Jesus' Easter triumph.  We will profess our faith in the Creed, along with our newly initiated brothers and sisters.  We will partake in the Eucharistic sacrifice, now the unbloody reenactment of Calvary.

In our Churches, new water will be blessed and there will be a sprinkling over all of us to recount our sacramental incorporation through the living waters of baptism, the warming power of the Holy Spirit in confirmation and the nourishment provided through our Eucharist, Jesus, the Bread of Life.  It is a good and appropriate thing that this Holy Saturday period is quiet and contemplative, relaxed and subtly expectant.

The Easter Vigil and all of the subsequent liturgies of Easter will explode our sensual perceptions and provide us with a liturgical extravaganza of auditory, tactile and sensory stimulations.  As we participate in the theological burst of liturgical expressions of Jesus' resurrected glory, we are able to closely relate to the Apostles, to Mary and to all the believers in Jerusalem on that first Easter morning.  Sorrow turns to joy, darkness is transformed into new light and our joyous expectations of new and eternal life are renewed.

Our faith will again feel the intensity of the Paschal Mystery as the entire communion of the Church proclaims, "Alleluia! Alleluia!"  We should most deeply recall the prayer from the blessing of the Paschal candle.  "Christ yesterday and today, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to Him and all glory, forever and ever.  Amen."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

Good Friday (also called "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday") is the most somber day of the entire year.  A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral.  The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the the penitential season begun on Ash Wednesday and becoming more intense throughout Lent.  Some ethnic Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:
Mark 15:25, 33
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.
Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all.  A devotion called "Tre Ore" or "Three Hours' Agony" might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion -- reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross (which our parish will do at 12 noon), praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion.  Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on a single question: "Do you realize what I have done for you?"  At 3:00, "The Hour" He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.

Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday),   empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows.  

Though a somber atmosphere will last until the Easter Vigil, after "The Hour" (3:00 PM) passes, it eases a bit, and life can go back to a "somber normal."  The phone can put back on the hook, etc., but candles and other symbols of Christ shouldn't be used, music shouldn't be played, raucous games should be eliminated, etc., while Christ is "in His Tomb" -- i.e., until after Vigil of Holy Saturday when Eastertide officially begins.

No true Mass is offered today (or tomorrow until the Vigil tomorrow evening); instead a liturgy called the "Mass of the Presanctified" is offered , which is not a true Mass because no consecration takes place.  Instead, we consume Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass of the Lord's Supper.  Vestment colors will be red, and the liturgy consists of readings from Scripture, prayer, St. John's version of the Passion, and ends with a long series of prayers for various intentions: the Church, the Pope, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the conversion of the Jews, the conversion of infidels.  These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.

Then the Cross will be unveiled and and elevated to be adored by our kneeling during the words "Venite, adorĂ©mus" (come, let us worship).  Then the priest stands with the cross at the front of the church and removes the red veil.  He takes off his chasuble and shoes, like Moses before God, and kneels to kiss the Cross.

The Cross is held up for us, and we file past to kneel and kiss the Cross while we sing.  Originally the choir sang the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him.  The first three of the twelve Reproaches were:
O My people, what have I done to thee?  Or wherein have I afflicted thee?  Answer Me.  Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior.

Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou has prepared a Cross for thy Savior.

What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done?  I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou has become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink; and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Savior.
A second choir used to respond to each of those Reproaches with a trisagion in Greek and Latin.   You might recognize its English translation if you've ever prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet:
O holy God!
O holy God!
O holy strong One!
O holy strong One!
O holy immortal One, have mercy on us.
O holy immortal One, have mercy on us!
After the Veneration of the Cross we receive Communion, receiving Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass.
Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchure

Our Lord was laid in the tomb owned by St. Joseph of Arimathea, at a site over which stands now the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, first built on the spot by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great.  In Jesus' time, the tomb was outside the city; by the time St. Helena was told of it, it was inside the city walls because Hadrian expanded the city's perimeter -- and had built a pagan temple over the site.  The basilica built by St. Helena was destroyed by Caliph al-Hakim in A.D. 1009, and was later re-built over time.

The exact spot where "the New Adam" was crucified is marked inside the Basilica, and is said to stand over the place where the first Adam was buried. Matthew tells us what happened when Our Lord's Soul left His Body:
Matthew 27:51
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.
Calvary (above) and the Chapel of Adam (below)
The spot of the Crucifixion in Jerusalem
Tradition tells us that among those rocks which were rent were those beneath the Cross, and that His Blood dripped down into the crevices (visible today) and reached the spot where the first Adam was interred.  The Blood of the New Adam covers the sins of the first Adam!  A chapel to the first Adam sits under the area marked as the place Our Lord died.

We know the names of the thieves between whom Jesus was crucified from the apocryphal "Acts of Pilate" (or "Gospel of Nicodemus"), attributed to St. Nicodemus, the member of the Sanhedrin who, along with St. Joseph of Arimethea, entombed Jesus (John 19:39). Book IX:5 reads
Then Pilate commanded the veil to be drawn before the judgment-seat whereon he sat, and saith unto Jesus: Thy nation hath convicted Thee as being a king: therefore have I decreed that Thou shouldest first be scourged according to the law of the pious emperors, and thereafter hanged upon the Cross in the garden wherein Thou wast taken: and let Dysmas and Gestas the two malefactors be crucified with Thee.
Dismas is considered a Saint -- the patron of prisoners -- and his memorial is on 25 March, the date believed to be the date of the Crucifixion.  You'll notice that the date is the same as the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her she was to have a son; it is ancient tradition that the Prophets died on the same day they were conceived.  Legend has it that when the Holy Family went on their "flight to Egypt" to escape Herod's wrath, they were accosted by thieves, among whom were Dismas and Gestas.  Dismas felt that there was something different about this Family, and ordered his comrades to leave them alone.  His act of natural virtue was repaid by the supernatural gift of faith he received when being crucified next to Our Lord.  This pious tale is recounted in the Arabic Infancy Gospel, an apocryphal book likely dated to the 4th c., and originally in Syriac.  In it, the thieves' names are given as Titus and Dumachus:
And turning away from this place, they came to a desert; and hearing that it was infested by robbers, Joseph and the Lady Mary resolved to cross this region by night.  But as they go along, behold, they see two robbers lying in the way, and along with them a great number of robbers, who were their associates, sleeping.  Now those two robbers, into whose hands they had fallen, were Titus and Dumachus.  Titus therefore said to Dumachus: I beseech thee to let these persons go freely, and so that our comrades may not see them.  And as Dumachus refused, Titus said to him again: Take to thyself forty drachmas from me, and hold this as a pledge.  At the same time he held out to him the belt which he had about his waist, to keep him from opening his mouth or speaking.  And the Lady Mary, seeing that the robber had done them a kindness, said to him: The Lord God will sustain thee by His right hand, and will grant thee remission of thy sins.  And the Lord Jesus answered, and said to His mother: Thirty years hence, O my mother, the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem, and these two robbers will be raised upon the cross along with me, Titus on my right hand and Dumachus on my left; and after that day Titus shall go before me into Paradise.  And she said: God keep this from thee, my son.  And they went thence towards a city of idols, which, as they came near it, was changed into sand-hills.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday - the Beginning of the Sacred Triduum

In a beautiful and solemn liturgy, at 7pm tonight, our parish will begin the Sacred Triduum.  

Holy Thursday is the day on which we recall the Lord's Last Supper, the institution of the Priesthood, the institution of the Eucharist, and the "Mandatum" - the command to exercise charity - exemplified in the washing of feet.  Jesus celebrated the Last Supper as part of the Passover (or Seder) Meal which commemorates the escape of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.  It was during this supper that Jesus offers Himself as THE Paschal Lamb - the Paschal Sacrifice.  Every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ's authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ's farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again. 
The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, or washing, in Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, and in the priest's stripping and washing the feet of some of his parishioners (in our case, the Knights of the Holy Temple). Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church's esteem for Christ's Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where it will remained 'entombed' until the celebration of the Night Prayer of the Church.  The people were invited to come and spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.

Also during this Mass, the Oils which were consecrated by Bishop McFadden during the Chrism Mass on Monday will be officially presented in the parish.  We had planned for one of our ill parishioners to bring up the Oil of the Sick, but her condition has deteriorated and does not allow her to attend tonight.  None-the-less, a parishioner will bring up the Oil of the Sick.  Then Lori Sword, one of our Catechumens (one who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil) will carry up the Oil of Catechumens.  Finally, one of our Confirmation Students, Cody Bennett, will carry in the Sacred Chrism which will be used to anoint the faithful during the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation - and is used to anoint those men who enter into Holy Orders.

There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral, Leonardo's ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century, and the reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist, Franasois Mauriac, written in the 1930s. 

Tomorrow our liturgical mind will shift to the Crucifixion of Christ.  The schedule for the day: Morning Prayer at 8am; the Office of Readings at 11:30; the Stations of the Cross at 12noon; and the solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at 7pm.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt (Jn 12:13-15)!"

Today we commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem for the completion of the Paschal Mystery. In the old calendar before Vatican II, the Church celebrated Passion Sunday two Sundays before Easter, and then Palm Sunday was the beginning of Holy Week. The Church has combined the two to reinforce the solemnity of Holy Week.

The Palm Sunday procession is formed of Christians who, in the "fullness of faith," make their own the gesture of the Jews and endow it with its full significance. Following the Jews' example we proclaim Christ as a Victor... Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. But by our faith we know, as they did not, all that His triumph stands for. He is the Messiah, the Son of David and the Son of God. He is the sign of contradiction, acclaimed by some and reviled by others. Sent into this world to wrest us from sin and the power of Satan, He underwent His Passion, the punishment for our sins, but issues forth triumphant from the tomb, the victor over death, making our peace with God and taking us with Him into the kingdom of His Father in heaven. 

Liturgy for Palm Sunday
The priests and deacons wear red vestments for Mass. There is a special entrance at the beginning of each Mass, either simple or solemn. This includes a blessing of the palms and the gospel reading of the entrance into Jerusalem (this year, because it is "Year B" we read from Mark's Gospel - 11:1-10). The introduction by the priest explains the solemnity of Holy Week, and invites the faithful to take full part in the celebration.  Then the palms are blessed.  

As the faithful, we remember and dramatize Christ's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey. In Jesus' time, a huge crowd assembled, put their cloaks or branches on the ground, and waved palm branches, acclaiming Christ as the King of Israel, the Son of David. We now wave our palm branches and sing as the priest enters the church:
Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
These words of praise are echoed every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Sanctus (Holy, Holy).

Our joy is quickly subdued. We are jolted to reality and see the purpose of Christ coming to Jerusalem by the reading of the Passion at the Gospel.