March 24, 2024

Dear Parishioners of Saint Polycarp,

As we come to church this weekend, we join with our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world to celebrate Holy Week, which once was called the “Great Week” (cf Miller, Sunday Preaching, 170). “Holy Week is ordered to the commemoration of Christ’s Passion with His Messianic entrance into Jerusalem” (Universal Norms, 31), and it reaches a climax in the three days which we call the Triduum: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, in which the Passion Reading is read. This year, the Passion Reading from the Gospel of Mark, which is the earliest and shortest of our Gospels, is proclaimed. Like the other Gospels (Luke, Matthew, and John), the Passion from the Gospel of Mark shows us that God’s love can and will overcome evil and even death itself.

To begin Holy Week with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, Holy Mother Church teaches us that the Son of God did not run away from the suffering of the Cross. He embraced it with humility, obedience, and love. He embraced the Cross because of His love for His Father and His love for us. His courageous acceptance of the Cross serves to make us aware of the crosses that are in our midst. By remembering Jesus’ Passion, we are educated to pay attention to the suffering of others. The Cross demands that attention should be paid. Thus, today we pay attention to the suffering of Jesus and the suffering of all who are victims of hate and violence.

May I invite you to pay attention to and to pray for the victims of wars, religious differences, and racial prejudice. Lastly, I recommend you take your palm home today. Keep it somewhere where you will see it from time to time to remind you of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Let it remind you of Jesus’ courage, his fidelity to his mission, his triumph over sin and death; and let it remind of His love for you and for me.

Holy Mary, Mother of God: Pray for us. Saint Polycarp: Pray for us.

Father Viet Peter Ho


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