Time to Sharpen Up Your Weaving Skills for Palm Sunday

Dear Parishioners,

Time to sharpen up your weaving skills. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and churches everywhere will be host to experts and amateurs making crosses out of palm branches during Mass. Yes, you’re right: Sister Mary Marsha (and our mothers) clearly instructed us that this was poor behavior and would show up as such on our Permanent Record. But human nature being what it is, I think that many will still produce some “beauts” next Sunday. The number will depend, of course, on the length of the homily….

Palm branches. Holy water. Wax candles. Red wine. Wheat Bread. Floral incense. These are just some of the wonderful, tactile things about being Catholic. We’ve even figured out a way to put ashes to good use! These “sacramentals” affirm our identity as Catholics, linking us to the larger, world-wide community of disciples. In other words, these familiar sights, sounds, and objects help us feel at home, feel like we “belong.”

The thing I like best about belonging to a Catholic community, though, is something it has been well equipped to do since the days of St. Paul. I mean its amazing ability to unite people in common purpose while, at the same time, cherishing the unique gifts of each member. Can the Lector say to She Who Polishes The Pews, “I have no need of you?” Can the Flower Arranger say to He Who Fixed The Leaking Roof, “I do not need you?” Are all parishioners Tenors In The Choir? Are all Second Grade Catechists? Do all bake cupcakes for the Parish Picnic? Granted, St Paul said this a lot more poetically in his famous “Body of Christ analogy” written to the Corinthians, but I think you get the point: as far as community goes, not only do we all want to be able to say, “I belong,” but also, “I matter.” What I think matters.

What I say matters. What I do matters. Most importantly, who I am matters. Weaving these gifts and talents and offerings together in a way that builds the Kingdom of God is the vocation, the calling, of every Catholic parish (in actuality, every Christian community). A lofty goal, I agree. But that’s how highly God thinks of us, that each and every one of us has some essential part to play in the unfolding of the Kingdom story.

So, by all means, let us practice weaving: palm branches into crosses; the Word of God into action; our lives into a fabric of meaning; our individual offerings and efforts into a Kingdom for all.

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