Together we proclaim ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ – March 2023

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!”

Mark 21:9

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

We join Jesus and the people of Jerusalem, praising God and saying, “Hosanna in the highest!” for we begin this Holy Week with great joy as our Redeemer is upon us. He came to rescue us!  We must also look deep into our heart to make sure we are ready for the King of Kings, the Savior of the world. Are we worthy to receive Him?

Of course we are! We are made by God for God and we have been anointed with the Sacrament of Baptism. We receive Him into our soul each time we avail ourselves to receive the Eucharist.  Unlike the people who received Jesus, “the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee,” we already know “the rest of the story.” Throughout His ministry on this earth, Jesus’s purpose was to draw the people to the Father. His ministry was to help everyone understand that God is not far away, but right here with them. He chose His apostles, His 12, to learn this in a most intimate way.  Jesus attends to them as His beloved and prepares them to carry forth the Father’s mission—to draw people to Him.

Throughout the celebration of Mass, the story of salvation unfolds before us. We participate in the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus from the proclamation of the Word to our ‘sending forth’. We receive the eternal gift of Jesus, and how daunting it can seem! At the end of the celebration of Mass, Jesus sends us forth to evangelize. He sends us forth to love and serve Him and to share that love with one another. God calls us from our mother’s womb to proclaim the Gospel among the nations. We possess one common salvation, one hope and one undivided charity.

Pope Francis tells us that the experience of the 12 apostles and the testimony of St. Paul invites us all to this call. “The treasure you have received with your Christian vocation, are obliged to give it:  it is the dynamic nature of the vocation, the dynamic nature of life . . . Christ conferred on the apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in His name and power. You share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have your own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.”

Are you ready for more hosannas? We begin with Palm Sunday. I hope you join me for the Chrism Mass on Monday, April 3, 11:00 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe where the priests of the Diocese of Orlando renew their priestly promises and we praise God with gratitude for our jubilarians. I am personally filled with great joy as the Diocese of Orlando is gifted with priests whose service to God is made manifest through you, the faith-filled people. The Chrism Mass is a beautiful liturgy where the oils of anointing are blessed and consecrated. We begin the Triduum with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, where we experience the humility of the service to which we are called by witnessing the washing of feet and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. We walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross as we participate in Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion. We hear our story of salvation and sing hosanna as we welcome 581 catechumens to the community of faith on Holy Saturday of the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter. The Resurrection of the Lord on April 9 is the most holy celebration of the Church.  Through His Passion, death and resurrection, we are bequeathed eternal life. Hosanna in the highest!

As we receive the greatest love, may we, with all our heart, mind, strength and spirit, return to God His service to one another.