[A]t the name of JesusPhil 2:10
every knee should bend
There has been a lot of controversy around kneeling (really, genuflecting, to be accurate) the past few years. The simple solution, and my answer if someone should ask my stance, is that I only kneel/genuflect for the Lord. Would it not be a marvelous witness to do so every time the name of God (who is Father, Son, and Spirit) is taken in vain in our presence? Or when we walk past a church? Or when a favor is received (or even more powerfully when it is not)? This may well go a long way to make happen what should be our fervent hope that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11)
A few years back I was asked to deliver a talk specifically on the significance of Palm Sunday to a local Houston church’s young adult group. Find it here. It seems to me we don’t spend much time on the significance of this event — even the main Gospel reading covers the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I hope you find the paper interesting, informative, and spiritually enriching.
I was reminded, for some reason, at Mass today (delightfully, “crowded” more than I have seen in the last year), of the Black spiritual, first published nearly a century ago, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I like the idea of a dual meaning to “Palm” Sunday: Jesus’ bodily palms and the palm fronds with which He was greeted. And, didn’t it seem that Jesus had the crowd in the palm of His hand that fateful Sunday before His Passion? Well, despite the forthcoming fickleness of many of these same folks just a few days later, He really did have the situation under control. Even when Pilate dared to say, “Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” (Jn 19:10), as if he was the source of such power that he could wield with the wave of his hand, Jesus could retort, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above” (Jn 19:11).
It is a great comfort in these troubling times that, indeed, the Lord has got the whole world in the Palm of His hand.
Also, be sure to check out Bp. Barron’s homily for today. His weekly Sunday Sermons can’t be beat.
BOOKS READ AND TO BE READ
I’ve polished off five books of Lenten reading and have just started the sixth and final one, St. Thomas More’s The Sadness of Christ, which he wrote while awaiting his execution. Standing out during this time is Mike Aquilina’s St. Joseph and His World. Find all of my ratings and reviews over the last several years on Goodreads.
I am looking forward to receiving the just ordered new book by Abp. Charles Chaput, Things Worth Dying For. Also on the way are the fourth and final volume in a phenomenal series of meditations on Matthew’s Gospel, published over the last twenty-five years, by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, as well as Roch Kerestzy’s Wedding Feast of the Lamb, that I am considering for my Eucharist course in St. Meinrad’s Program for Deacon Formation.
Speaking of the deacon formation program, my friend, Deacon Bruce Sullivan (whose own story of conversion is fascinating), whom I taught, and who was recently ordained in Louisville, reminded me of The Chosen series. I had watched two or three episodes months ago, but plan on watching the entire first season this week. A good way to cap off Lent or enhance the Easter Season it seems to me.
THIS AND THAT
The awful mass shooting in Atlanta was another deeply saddening and troubling sign of a culture in steep decline. Additionally disconcerting was the move to entirely overlook the shooter’s own reasoning, twisted as it was, for the murders, and focus on the ethnicity of many of the victims. If there is a legitimate uptick in violence against those of Asian descent, the root causes should be explored and addressed, of course. But to dismiss the troubled young man’s own confession of sexual addiction says much about our society (especially the media). In a time in which we are obsessed with sexual immorality in the media and in politics, I am very suspicious of the prevailing narrative that disordered sexual impulses could not possibly be the reason for such a horrific crime. The prevailing “wisdom”: When anything goes in the sexual realm, how could something of this nature possibly lead to evil ends?
Another book on the way is Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars. I was absolutely riveted by a talk of his on the book that I happened to come across. A unique approach to analysis of a war whose books could themselves fill a large library or more. I look forward to getting the details in this volume.
May your Holy Week be especially blessed.