Today we celebrate Palm Sunday and we recall Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey with the common people out waving Palms and crying out ‘Hosanna in the Highest.’ To onlookers this would not have seemed a very auspicious occasion and yet we know that it marked the moment Saviour of the World took possession of his holy city. It was his solemn entry into Jerusalem immediately prior to the working out of the great events which brought about our salvation.
So despite the fact that it was a very low key incident, which was surely overlooked by the social and religious elite, it was actually an occasion of great significance. This reminds us that we too often overlook what could be highly significant events. We prefer to notice the grand occasions and would rather see the big picture, and we fail to take notice of what might appear to us to be rather insignificant events. And yet the lesson of today is that it is often the insignificant things which are the most important of all.
This is one of the lessons given to us by St Theresa of Lisieux. She told us to concentrate on getting the tiniest of things right because according to her they were the most important of all. According to St Theresa the passing of salt at the table could be a great act of charity because it would mean that we were totally focussed on the needs of others. So let us open our eyes to notice the significance of the insignificant and remember that it is the least important of our actions than can raise us up in the eyes of God.
A Prayer to St Joseph
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities. O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness. As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
A Prayer by Thomas à Kempis
Grant me your grace, most merciful Jesus,
that your grace may be with me,
work in me,
and continue with me to the end.
Grant me always to want and desire
whatever is most acceptable to you
and pleases you best.
Let your will be mine,
and let my will always follow yours
and agree perfectly with it.
Let there be between you and me but one will,
so that I may love what you love
and abhor what you hate.
Grant that I may die to all things
that are in the world
and, for your sake, love to be despised,
and not to be known by the world.
Grant that I may rest in you above all other things,
and that my heart may be at peace in you.
You are the true peace of the heart.
You are its only rest.
Outside of you, all things are hard and uneasy.
In this peace, the same peace that is in you,
the one sovereign eternal Good,
I will sleep, and I will rest. Amen.
The Transfiguration is one of the few Gospel narratives that is repeated more than once throughout the liturgical year. It has its own feast day in August. Why then do we hear it during Lent?
One reason is that it points towards the whole aim of the penitential season of Lent: it gives us a glimpse of the Resurrection. Jesus permits the select group of disciples to see his future glory.
We are given this text about the Transfiguration to sustain us as we do penance and give us sight of the Easter victory that we are preparing to celebrate. The glory shows us that Jesus is God. The appearance of Moses and Elijah tells us that Christ himself is the fulfilment of the whole of Salvation History.
We should not lose sight of these facts. Whilst the solemnity of the season of Lent is important; it loses all its potency of we forget that it leads us to the glory and joy of Easter.
Father Alex McAllister SDS