Palm Sunday at St Mary's Abbey was beautiful and sunny at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Lord's Entrance. The choir sang beautifully. After the blessing of palms and the procession, upon entering the Abbey church we sand "Ride on, ride on in majesty".
Father Abbot gave the homily. The weeks of Lent, he said, were a time where we are assessed as followers of Christ. Our following of Christ is a real following/journey towards our mother Jerusalem on high. There God lives amongst human beings and there is no more weeping or mourning. In the procession of palms we do not reconstruct historical events, but celebrate the mystery of salvation. For we journey towards the Altar which is at once both place of sacrifice and throne; of joy and mourning mingled together. Our Christian faith faces the reality of the human condition: where people cry "Hosanna to the King of David" one day, and in the same week cry "Crucify Him!" How fickle our feelings especially in a crowd! Where the inner vision is blurred human feelings and desires can lead to inhumanity. The Saviour's way leads through suffering by sacrificial love nailed on the cross. His way does not stop us weeping nor takes away our pain, but it alters our inner vision and thus gives meaning to our pain and our weeping, and allows Christ's power to work in us - then we followers are adopted sons and daughters.
Thanks to Father Abbot Holy Week, or Hebdomada Sancta (hebdomada being the Latin word I learnt today!), began with inspiration for the whole of Christian discipleship caught up in the triumphant entry of Our Lord into His own city, that would crucify Him, but would be the place where His final victory is won and where He would rise from the tomb.
Following the Mass my family had a picnic in the grounds of the Abbey. What do young boys do on Palm Sunday at an Abbey after lunch? They disappear into the undergrowth of course!
The Abbey grounds were looking beautiful and some of the spring flowers were still out.
Sitting in the sun with a juicy lolly - some of the best joys of life are very simple!
Every blessing to you this Hebdomada Sancta!
Fr Ian Hellyer