When holy days or holidays come along, our bulletin material has to be submitted early, so I am writing this on March 25th. Many things will have changed before you read this, so for an update on what is happening in relation to the pandemic, please see our website, stpiusparish.org/coronavirus-updates. As it stands, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Masses will be recorded and placed on our website. Triduum services will be live streamed from the cathedral. I ask you to continue reaching out by phone to the home bound and to be as supportive as possible to those in need.
We begin our celebration of Holy Week with Palm Sunday. In the Gospel reading at the very beginning of the service, before the procession with palms begins, the people are praising Jesus and honoring Him. In the Passion account read a few minutes later, they are calling out, “Crucify Him.” What happened?
One way to look at it is the power of the mob. Our tendency as human beings is to want to belong, to follow the crowd. This means we can do what others are doing without giving much thought to our beliefs and convictions. In the old days, this happened most of all when people were together in one place, as were the crowds both when Jesus entered Jerusalem and when He was crucified. Nowadays, the mob mentality can take over through the internet and social media. It is something to be aware of, especially in this time of the pandemic. With this letter you will see a cartoon entitled “two roll models.” The man on the left is following the mob hysteria and stockpiling rolls of toilet paper, though our officials have asked us not to do that because we are creating shortages that wouldn’t happen without the mob hysteria. If that person believes in the Gospel, then his actions are not in accord with Gospel values. The person on the right IS living Gospel values, sharing with an elderly, vulnerable person in need.
We need to be reasonable; we need to protect our families. But we also need to be aware of the human tendency to mob reaction and how that can challenge our Gospel
I invite us to reflect on how we have been responding to the pressures and stress of these last weeks. How have Gospel values been a part of how I have thought and reacted? Am I bringing Christ’s love and peace to the world around me? How can I do better?
And, as always, let us support each other’s efforts with prayer.