Sunday, March 29, 2020

Passion Sunday - Purple Veils

Today is Passion Sunday (in the Extraordinary Rite) - only two weeks remain of Lent. So why do we veil images and statues starting on Passion Sunday? You can find a few explanations, but the one I like is that Jesus hid Himself from the Jews who sought to stone Him, and left the Temple. This is the beginning of Passiontide - a season (sadly) no longer observed in the Ordinary Rite, but in the Extraordinary Rite, it still is. Pictures of Jesus, the Saints, etc. are hidden from us for these last two weeks which increases in us the hunger for Christ and holiness. The veils are a reminder of the fact that Jesus had to hide Himself and so His image is hidden from us too and remain hidden until during the Gloria, which has also been omitted during Lent, of the First Mass of Easter. During the Gloria, the veils are removed the bells ring (which were silenced after Holy Thursday) and we again can look upon Him and His holiness, as also revealed through the Saints (which again, were also veiled for Passiontide).

This excellent tradition of veiling holy items is not just for the Church, but also in the homes of the laity. What a wonderful visual and lesson for our children! If you have not participated in this before, I urge you to do so - now! If you do not have purple cloths, plan to get some - but go ahead and cover with whatever you do have now, change it to purple when you have it. When your children ask about it, you can share the reasoning. As the two weeks progress, they too may begin to miss seeing these images and statues and given another reason to be joyful on Easter Sunday - another reminder that He IS risen!

In the Ordinary Rite, Passion Sunday was moved to and combined with Palm Sunday, liturgically speaking. Again I urge you to keep the tradition of Passion Sunday (there is no rule against doing so!) and not detract from Palm Sunday - when Jesus was honored upon His entrance to Jerusalem which ultimately begins Holy Week, the holiest week in the liturgical year.

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