Passion Sunday/Palm Sunday, Year C

Woody Allen once said that he took a speed reading course and then proceeded to read War & Peace. HIs conclusion? It was about Russia.

The brevity of his conclusion is appealing to me in light of the proclamation of nearly 3000 words this coming Sunday -- 3000 words which include nothing short of the Passion of our Lord and Savior.

In many ways the reading of the Passion preaches itself; however, the reception of these words is certainly enhanced by a sharp attention span, strong legs, and the imagination of a child.

I love the sign that is oftentimes found above Sacristy doors stating -- Priest, celebrate this Mass as if it is your first Mass, your last Mass, and your only Mass.

If taken seriously, these words serve as a powerful instrument to help one focus. Strong legs may help one to avoid getting distracted during the reading of the Passion which lasts much longer than a typical Sunday Gospel Reading.

The imagination of a child is a great treasure. Any of you who have read books to children have experienced the unquenchable excitement of a child who has memorized each page of their favorite fairy tale -- yet seems to experience the twist and turns of a story for the first time during each reading.

We know the story of Jesus by heart and we know how the story unfolds during this Holy Week. Perhaps the brief message that might follow the reading of the Passion this coming Sunday is a challenge of sorts.

Can we enter into the mystery and awe of the story that unfolds during Holy Week this year with a fresh and new approach? Can we make it feel different this year? Can we enter into the story as bystanders walking with Jesus?

A few words of encouragement to this effect can go a long way this Sunday. Let us pray for the imagination of a child who will see each event of the Passion unfold as freshly invented.

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