[COLUMN] A blessed Holy Week

PALM Sunday is the solemn beginning of Holy Week. We raise not just our palms but our hearts and minds to the Lord—that in good times and in bad times, amid tragedies and crisis, we can still say, “Hosanna to my King and my Lord!”

We commemorate the entrance of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem — a city bustling with business and life, where people were fearful of an impending tragic event that would shake their faith.

As we reflect on this event in the life of Jesus, we realize that the COVID-19 pandemic shook our world and tested us in every aspect of our lives, particularly our faith in God.  It continues to bring us anxiety and fear. It has caused so much grief and sadness, especially among those who lose their loved ones. But it has brought us closer as a family and community and made us resilient in faith.

And so, at the beginning of the Mass, we join our hearts as the priest leads us in prayer, saying:

“Increase the faith of those who place their hope in you, O God, and graciously hear the prayers of those who call on you, that we, who today hold high these branches to hail Christ in his triumph, may bear fruit for you by the good works accomplished in him. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.”

We read the Passion of Christ from the Gospel of Matthew. As we listen to it, we take some moments to reflect on our sufferings and pains. We embrace them willfully and ask Jesus to help us bear them.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

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