This week the suggestion is that we focus our attention not only on Palm Sunday but broaden our view to include an holistic view of Holy Week – and anchor our reflection and approach on some words of Saint Paul.

For the created universe waits with eager expectation … the whole created universe groans in all its parts as if in the pangs of childbirth … {Romans 8: 19 & 22}.

As we celebrate Palm Sunday there must not only be a sense of joy and achievement but there must be an expectation that something special and singular could result here and now in our own little worlds. This is why we need to hear the words of the prophet in

OUR OLD TESTAMENT READING [ISAIAH 50: 4 – 7]: I have set my face like flint, and I know I shall not be put to shame. In addition Isaiah tells us that the Lord opens my ear to hear as those who are taught. Am I teachable? Have I set my face like flint to LEARN? If so, I shall not be put to shame …. the shame of not learning.

In all this ‘learning’ let us not neglect the truth taught by Saint Paul that the created universe waits ….. the whole created universe groans in all its parts. This teaching fits perfectly with the challenge frequently repeated in the last weeks – that we are all, each one of us, intimately linked with the Lord’s creation which is there, all around us, for us to see, experience, enjoy, sustain and develop. Is it possible for us to celebrate Palm Sunday, hear, and learn from, the teaching Saint Paul gives us, and then on the journey home toss a paper packet or empty hamburger box out of the car window?!

“Our future survival as a human race depends upon our relationship with the earth which sustains us.” {GERARD W. HUGHES, SJ: CRY OF WONDER: Bloomsbury: Page 34} However, the authenticity of our relationship with Jesus will, in many ways, determine our relationship with the whole of groaning creation! It is worth our while to recall that so many of Jesus’ parables used the reality of nature (plants, shrubs, trees and birds) to enliven the lessons he taught in relation to human individuals.

Palm Sunday, together with the whole of Holy Week, must remind me that

I AM HUMAN, and alive with the life of Jesus Christ. Is this the way that, as Paul tells us, every tongue (should) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord?

As we listen to the proclamation of MARK’S PASSION [14: 1 – 15: 47] we could profitably reflect on two particular incidents recorded by Mark. The first is the protestations of undying loyalty and faithfulness given not only by Peter but endorsed by the others: and they all said the same.

Have I been unquestioningly loyal and faithful, for more than 50-years, to my priestly commitment? How exactly do we assess ourselves? Do we turn a blind eye to what we see as minor misdemeanours? I have often said that a good marriage can survive an adultery but it cannot survive years of neglect in the fields of day-to-day courtesies, genuine expressions of concerns, and real partnership. We need to apply much the same norm to our discipleship and commitment to the Lord.

The second

revolves around Jesus’ request that the disciples support him in a specific need. Remain here and watch ….. and he came and found them sleeping. We must not sleepwalk through Holy Week. This should not be seen as a minor misdemeanour. Job {23:11}was able to proclaim that “my foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” On Easter Sunday, each one of us should be able to proclaim the same.