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Entering into Holy Week – Mar 24

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Revitalising Catholic Culture and IdentityBy Vernon Khelawan

As we enter Holy Week, we are reminded that it is one rich in Catholic culture. We begin with the Palm Sunday ritual, whereby we are reminded of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, with palm fronds held high and everyone singing and praising the Lord. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest” (Luke 19:37-38).

In our country the blessed palm has always played a significant role in our culture. Apart from being burnt to be used in the following year’s Ash Wednesday celebrations, many of the faithful ensure that the blessed palm, dry as it may be, remains a symbol of peace and protection and a poignant reminder of our Catholic culture and identity.

The dried and curled up fronds are carefully placed in a special place in the home – usually on the chapel where one exists. They are carried in cars and some of the faithful even slip a piece into their Sunday Missal or other prayer books as a reminder of that triumphal journey.

It also puts into perspective the capriciousness of man, who after joyously welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem with loud shouts of Hosanna and wildly waving branches, would make a complete reversal within days with angry shouts of “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Why the sudden change? Maybe a look deep within ourselves, might provide the answer.

In his book In Conversation with God, Francis Fernandez wrote, “The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem asks for loyalty and perseverance from each one of us; it calls us to deepen our faithfulness and for our resolutions to be more than just bright lights that sparkle for a moment and then fade away. There are some striking contrasts in the depths of our hearts, for we are capable of the very greatest things and also the very worst and so if we wish to possess the divine life and triumph with Christ, we need to be constant and, through penance, deaden within us anything that separates us from God.”

St Josemaría Escrivá, in his book Christ is Passing By states: “Anyone who barricades himself in the citadel of his own selfishness will never come down onto the battlefield. But if he raises the gates of his fortress and lets in the king of peace, then he will go out with the king to fight against all that misery which blurs the eyes and numbs the conscience.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 14:31