Pastoral Letter from Fr Raymond Pereira

5th April 2020

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Dear beloved parishioners of STM and friends, Shalom! Today we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem riding humbly on a donkey. Today marks the beginning of the New Exodus—like a warrior preparing to conquer death, Jesus enters the city where He will be mocked, tortured, stripped and crucified… and where He will indeed lead us to conquer DEATH.

See the true humility of Jesus Christ—He is the Son of God who for love of us also becomes the Son of King David, in order to lay down His life for us. He is the One who will re-establish the Kingdom of God and to put and end once and for all to sin and death.

Brothers and sisters, let us witness the reaction of the crowds—both the crowd that travels with Jesus up to the city gates AND the also the citizens of Jerusalem who are troubled by what this SOLEMN entrance means for them…

Today we are not simply re-enacting an historical event that happened long ago.

Instead, we too welcome Jesus Christ HERE and NOW, in the midst of our Covid-19 Pandemic—after all, He is more ALIVE than any of us. Yes, we need not fear or feel hopeless with anxiety, sadness, despair etc. What do the crowds tell us today?

1) First, there is the crowd that travels with Him to the gates of Jerusalem… They sing “HOSANNA” (a word which originally meant “SAVE US NOW!”) …and line the road before Jesus with garments and palms—what does any of this mean for us, if we do not welcome Jesus Christ with our faith and love? We NEED a Savior, but we must ask ourselves: do we WELCOME the Savior? Are we willing to throw onto the ground before Him the pride, the resentment, the greed, the lust that we hold so closely to ourselves?

2) Then there are the citizens within the city of Jerusalem. When St. Matthew tells us: “when [Jesus] entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” He uses here the same Greek word to describe the earthquake following the Resurrection—the whole people are “shaken” as from an earthquake.

In His humility, in His going to the Cross, God shakes us to our very foundations. Let us not be afraid or ashamed—God shakes us in order to FREE us from what enslaves us.

This is true humility—not to belittle ourselves or to think of how “bad” we are, but to acknowledge WHO we are BEFORE Almighty God!

Yes, Jesus enters Jerusalem today riding on a donkey to encounter the Paschal Mystery of His passion, death and resurrection. Simultaneously, we too enter our OWN Jerusalem this Holy Week with the turmoil, suffering and fatality of this Covid-19 pandemic which has painfully affected all areas of our lives!

Brothers and sisters, let us genuinely welcome Jesus into the depths of our hearts and ENTER into this HOLY WEEK with true humility and trust! Let us die to ourselves of all our weaknesses and sinfulness and finally rise and enter into the New Jerusalem at Easter with the Risen Christ our Lord and King!

A Blessed & Spirit-filled Holy Week and Easter Triduum to you and your loved ones! One with you all in spirit and prayers offered at all my Holy Week Masses and Service!

BLESSED & HOLY EASTER OF OUR RISEN CHRIST TO ONE AND ALL!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Raymond P.

STM