The Called and Gifted workshop ended at 4 pm. Saturday Vigil Mass begins at 4 pm. There was no way that I could walk up the stairs from the Social Hall and not attend. I just couldn’t. Plus, I love Palm Sunday! Right before the homily, Fr. John exhorted us to pray that we give our imaginations and attention to God, so that we can truly take in what He would like to say to us today. He said that if we found ourselves lingering at a particular point during the retelling of the Lord’s Passion, that we are to stay there (since it’s probably the Holy Spirit’s work, right?) and not worry about “catching up” to where everyone else is. And to pay attention to this throughout Holy Week.
During the reading, I seemed to dwell on two images or points in the Gospel. The first was the image of the woman anointing the Lord’s head with the costly spikenard, and how this was a type of anointing for his burial.
3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted? 5 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. — Mark 14:3-8.
The second was at the Lord’s Supper where, “he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,'” Mark 14:24.
Preparation for death and His cup.
As I am writing this, my mind is racing with all sorts of things related to this. But as I am to reflect upon this throughout Holy Week, I will take up some of those ideas at a later time and just relate what I was thinking during Mass, which has to do primarily with His cup.
The first thought was of the Father’s Will. Jesus said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt,” Mark 14:36. In so saying, Jesus is choosing to drink from the cup, if that is what the Father offers Him. Jesus chose to drink.
My second thought was of the disciples, squabbling about who among them would be “first,” and Jesus’ response: “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink…?” Mark 10:38. I take this to mean that by drinking His cup, you are asking to share in His Passion.
With both of these thoughts, it seemed to me that the Lord was asking me if I was willing to participate in Holy Week by sharing in His Passion. Would I drink from His cup?
The chalices on the altar called to me. My eyes were drawn to them. This was a serious question. There was only one way I felt I could respond, “I will, yet let not what I will, but what You will be done.”
I was sitting quite far back in the Church and thought that perhaps I wouldn’t actually get to make this choice. Perhaps the cup would pass me by (meaning that the Extraordinary Ministers would be all out of the Precious Blood by the time I got up there). I was actually worrying that this might be the case, because, for some odd reason, I wanted to do this! But God did not allow that to happen. When I got to the cup, there was more than enough for me.
So, I consumed His Blood and I united myself to whatever the Father had in store for me, whatever experience of the Lord’s Passion I am to have this week, with confidence, knowing that I would be bolstered by the Holy Spirit and loved by the entire Trinity throughout the week.
What, to all other eyes in the Church this afternoon, appeared to be just another parishioner receiving communion under both species … was probably the most important question and powerful decision that I have made so far during this Lent.
May I cooperate with His grace.