Saturday, April 13, 2019

Passion Sunday

OK, I am a bit late in posting this one since Passion Sunday was traditionally LAST Sunday, but according to the new lectionary, Passion and Palm Sunday are now together on the Sunday before Easter.  That being said, as one who prefers the Extraordinary Rite, which still uses the traditional lectionary, I will post this separately from my Palm Sunday entry.

What IS Passion Sunday?

Traditionally, on this Sunday we transfer our thoughts from our own penances to the Passion of Jesus Christ. One of the things we do on this Sunday is cover all our sacred images with purple cloth. The veiling of sacred images removes from our sight the stimuli these bring to mind - and again, allows us to focus on the Passion of the Christ. In our homes and in our churches, these images bring to mind different Saints and their lives as well as various parts of the life of Christ. So seeing them veiled from Passion Sunday through the Easter Vigil (in the church, the veils are removed just as the vigil ends and as the First Mass of Easter begins).

Another way of looking at the veiling of statues, crucifixes and pictures is a sense of mourning, as we mourn the price of our salvation.

An exception to those things veiled... the Stations of the Cross.  These remain unveiled for they are a chief part of the devotions during all of Lent, but especially from Passion Sunday forward to the Easter Vigil.

The fact that in the new lectionary Passion and Palm Sunday are together on Palm Sunday saddens me. Why combine the two? There is a ton of devotional differences between the two Sundays, and well, where Passion Sunday is not observed in its place - the Fifth Sunday of Lent, and the Sunday before Palm Sunday - a rich piece of our heritage is lost.

I also noticed in some churches, they began veiling sacred images on Ash Wednesday. That has a similar meaning - but again, it takes away from Passion Sunday.  Our family still practices covering the sacred images (statues and pictures) around our house on Passion Sunday and they stay there until we return from Easter Vigil, or until just before we leave for Easter Sunday Mass.  Also, another irony I noticed at a church for Palm Sunday - where the only thing sacred which was veiled (throughout Lent) was the tabernacle - and for Palm Sunday the veil was removed!

Let us pray for a return of and to our heritage!  Even if the churches do not do it, we can do it in our homes.

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