Palm Sunday and Passover approach for millions around the world within the week. For Christians and Jews, it is a time of remembrance and thanksgiving to God for His many blessings. The Jewish people recount their salvation from slavery and Christians recall the triumph of Jesus Christ over death. As a Jew, Christ was well aware of the significance of this holy time for His people.
The significance of God's plagues on Egypt is not without its parallels to today's pandemic. It has changed our families, our work, our children's schooling, and the very practice of our faith. What we cannot allow the pandemic to do though is to lose our faith in God's mercy.
The fifth Sunday of Lent had as its responsorial refrain: "With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption." Our lives may change, but the Lord's Mercy will not.
Holy Week and the Triduum will be vastly different for us as Catholics, but we must not let that stop any of us from celebrating the fullness of God's redemption on Easter Sunday 2020. In fact, many of our prayers, such as the Stations of the Cross can hold even greater significance this year because of the pandemic.
We are praying alone in our homes, not surrounded by others at church, as Christ prayed alone in the garden before His arrest. We walk outside alone these days, without friends and neighbors, as Christ walked on his way to Calvary. We recall Christ's words as He was dying on the cross, "Father, forgive them they know not what they do" and we can reflect on how our world has turned away from God.
Many years ago, the Jewish people were ordered to sprinkle blood of a lamb on their doors as a means to avoid the final plague, the death of first-born males. Many Christians on Epiphany Sunday bless their homes for protection against evil by chalking the symbols 20 + C + M + B + 20 above their doors, representing the current year and honoring the three Magi.
And to show our faith in God's mercy towards our families and country, on Palm Sunday go to your church, and gather the palms they will be leaving for parishioners*. Create crosses out of these palms and hang them on your doors, proclaiming your trust in God's mercy and protection for your family as we progress with this epidemic. God's mercy is never ending. So too should our trust in Him be. God bless us all.
*Note: Some dioceses have suspended the practice of providing palms outside churches on Palm Sunday because of the coronavirus pandemic. If this is the case in your diocese, create a cross of paper or other materials you have at home to display on your door.
Copyright 2020 Carol S. Bannon
Images (from top): Pixabay.com (2014), CC0/PD; Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD
About the Author
Carol Bannon currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband. She is a wife, mother, grandmother to seven, substitute teacher, and an active supporter of the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island (DSSRI). Carol is the author of Handshake from Heaven and Our Family’s Christmas Elf. She and her husband love to spend time boating on Cape Cod and traveling to new harbors.