ROCKFORD—Palm Sunday, April 9, brought the pageantry of palms to the start of Holy Week.
At the well-decorated Cathedral of St. Peter, Bishop David Malloy celebrated the 7:30 a.m. Mass. “Each year when we read the Passion, we’re reminded ... in a fundamental element (that faith) is not for the fainthearted,” he said.
The Passion of Jesus has all the more impact, he said, because of our hope to spend eternity with Him.
The bishop pointed out various moments, such as how Jesus faced his accusers all alone, and noted that, unlike the abundant, “too sanitized” crucifixes, the real Jesus was likely beaten, he said, “probably beyond recognition” as indicated by the fact that He died within three hours, when the process usually took much longer.
“He died in our place,” Bishop Malloy said. “He died for our sins, which He Himself took no part in.”
In a modern society, he said, “how does Jesus’ death for us ... answer the injustice that is everywhere?
The Passion reminds us ... that our world and our lives are deformed by sin ... it distorts our relationship with God Himself.”
Only the “purifying love, (which) none of us has ever given or ever seen except (there) on the cross,” he said, purifies and corrects the world and forgives our sins when we repent.
“Our faith must accept its full meaning,” Bishop Malloy concluded, “and for that, all the more, we love Christ.”
Holy Week is filled with special services including Thursday evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper; Friday’s Passion of the Lord, offered in the afternoon and/or evening at parishes around the diocese and world; and Holy Saturday night Vigil Mass that welcomes catechists and catechumens into full communion with the Church. The Easter season officially begins with Sunday’s celebration of the Resurrection, April 16.