‘May we all give honor and praise to our king’
By Trish Linner
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral Parish, South Bend, where he encouraged the faithful to enter into Holy Week “with our minds and our hearts lifted up to the Lord, focusing on the great event of our salvation: the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” He told the gathered crowd that attending the Holy Week liturgies “is an important way to enter into the mystery of the redemption, to make this week truly holy in our lives.”
Following the entrance of the Mass celebrant, concelebrants Father Terry Fisher, Deacon Dennis DiBenedetto and Deacon Eric Burgener and altar servers into the church amid a sea of palm fronds, Bishop Rhoades talked about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. “It was a royal entry, the entry of a king, the Messiah,” he said.
He noted that Jesus had kept His identity as the Messiah quiet until that point; but he would now enter the city riding on a donkey to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah about said Messiah. “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
Jesus was the Messiah the people had been waiting for; however, “He was the king who entered not on a horse or chariot, not with weapons, but He entered ‘meek’ and riding on a donkey. This was His kingship. He’s the king who will bring peace, not war,” the bishop said.
He reminded the faithful: “At this Mass and at every Mass, we worship Christ our king. We sing the same words sung by the people on that first Palm Sunday: ‘Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ And our Lord comes.”
“During this Holy Week, may we all give honor and praise to our king, who reigns from the wood of the cross; our shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep, our God who loved us to the end. I hope and pray that this week will truly be holy in your families, in this parish and in all of our hearts as we remember the holy Passion of our Lord and king.”
His message was well received with St. Matthew parishioners. “It was an uplifting message. Our daily lives need to be embedded with our spiritual lives. Holy Week is a time to gather our strength to be better people,” said Ann Jagla, who has attended St. Matthew for 20 years.
Long-time parishioner Pat Burch agreed. “It is always terrific when the bishop is here. We appreciate how often he comes to visit us. His message is so positive and uplifting.”
Grace Weist, a sophomore at Marian High School and St. Matthew Cathedral School graduate, noted how much she enjoyed watching her brother, Josh, participate in the Mass as an altar server. “It’s such an honor for him to serve Palm Sunday Mass with the bishop,” she said.
Parishioner Vicente Hernandez summed up the mood of the crowd by concluding, “It was a great service on this beautiful Palm Sunday.”
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