This year was the first year of probably many that I will not be at my home parish for Palm Sunday.
There is just something about my home parish that makes it special for me. It is probably because my Dominican brethren are there (The Dominican Friars), but I think it is because of this experience at the Cathedral here in Charleston has made me realize something.
Everything at the 11:15am Mass was almost identical, except when it came to the Gospel reading.
The Cathedral had done a beautiful job with the music and chants, this place is closest to what my home parish is like (on the inside the altars are identical).
When they began the chanting of Gospel Reading I noticed that the Congregation had no parts to speak.
Why is that so important to me? It is not because it helps with trying not friget around as you listening to a very long Gospel reading. In all seriousness it brings a fullness of our sins in clear view and truly reminds us of what Jesus did for us.
How is that? Well, if you remember the reading at all there is a part that is for the Crowd (C). At St. Patrick’s and probably many other parishes throughout the world ask that the Congregation to say the Crowd’s lines, the Priest speaks Jesus lines, and lines for the Narrator, Disciples and Voice go to the Lector and one of members of the Choir. At St. Patrick’s we have in all the times I remember never chanted the gospel, instead spoke. And when it came time for us, the congregation to say (only quoting a few of the Crowd’s lines):
Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?
Crucify him! Crucify him!
we become the Jews in the crowd. How many times have we, God’s Children spoke to Him in such a manner? We blame Him for all our troubles and cannot believe He did not save us from the horrors we have experienced. We are no better than those who spoke in the crowd who wanted a Messiah to overthrow Rome, instead Jesus overthrows something greater.
And every time I spoke those words when I would go to St. Patrick’s Palm Sunday Mass, I would cry, not full on tears and gasping for air, but tears might fall. I had a sadness engulf me, that I have been just like those in the Crowd many times and not in just my Catholic life, but throughout my whole life.
In all honesty, I found that when I do not speak those words on Palm Sunday I do not quite grasp the contemplation as when I do. The Triune God allows us to mock, disregard, corrupt, and much more just as the Jews had done about 2000 years ago. Yet, what does He do? He stretches out His arms and takes it all, still loving us. God’s children forget that He loves us and this little act of speaking those words the crowd’s spoke is a reminder that even as we do all those things, He still loves us and still taking upon it all so we can just figure out that He wants completely.