Dear Cathedral Family,
Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday, and the center point of our worship this Sunday will be a reading of the Passion Gospel from Matthew. Christian usage of the word passion comes from the Latin passio (suffering), referring for us to Christ’s redemptive suffering leading to his death on the cross. Jesus, the incarnation of the living God, enters the intense human suffering of violent death this week, and we enter his suffering as we participate in the liturgies of this Holy Week. Within this shared suffering, God’s redeeming work happens in us, and in the whole world.
Palm Sunday sets the stage for the whole observance of Holy Week and Easter, as we begin with the celebration and hosannas of the triumphal entry in the Liturgy of the Palms and move through the words and actions of Jesus’ final days in the Passion Gospel before joining in a foretaste of his resurrection in the Eucharist.
From its earliest observance in the Church, this week had no sense of separate commemorations of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was a single, unified enactment of Christ’s victory through death and rising again, which Christians share through our death and rebirth in baptism. Even though our baptismal preparation and experience has changed over time, this week remains for us a coherent expression of the wholeness of our faith: God is present with us in our suffering and bears it with us, working through it to transform us into a new creation, even while implanting in us the hope of the eternal manifestation of the fullness of God’s kingdom.
The experience of Easter joy is even greater when you have walked the whole way of Christ’s final days, beginning with Palm Sunday and including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I hope that many of you will find a way to have that experience this week, so that we can walk together in the Way of Jesus.