Bengaluru: Holy Week Begins with Palm Sunday

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By C V Joseph

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No other season is holier than this week, said Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras. He was speaking on the concluding day of 40 days intercession and on the occasion of Palm Sunday celebration in Bangalore on March 29. The Archbishop narrated in brief the significance of the day and the week, which is known as the Holy Week.

Dr Moras said, Scripture reminds us that the very people who sang praises on Palm Sunday, shouted against Jesus on Good Friday. Quoting Pilate, he said, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you’.  People shouted. Archbishop posed to a well-attended congregation- what a comparison between heaven and hell,betweendeath and life, between truthfulness and sin.We see, on one side Jesus and other people for Pilate to decide.Again to his question – Barabbas or Jesus, the people shouted‘Release to us Barabbas’. What shall I do with Jesus? They shouted all the more – Crucify him. Let his blood fall on us and on our children. What happened to what they asked for is evident in the history.

The second aspect is the Pharisees and scribes who shouted to the people and instigated them to ask for Barabbas and the people asked for Barabbas. The scene is one of suffering of Jesus. Do we do our own responsibility as Church people, family members, leaders of society or any other. Do we carry out responsibility as God wants us. Pharisees out of jealousy brought Jesus to Pilate. He released Barabbas as they shouted, persistently. Pilate wanted to keep his position. He washed his hands to be free from guilt.

We also go against teachings of Church, laws and rules of Government, andcommandment of God. We also choose Barabbas in our lives. We speak against God. Go on committing aberrations. There is always choice between Barabbas and Jesus, truth and sin. What is to be chosen is left to each person.

Archbishop narrated an incident which happened 300 years ago. Christians were put to death by emperors of Rome. Constantine was the only one of that period who gave that kind of freedom. His own father also did the same as his predecessors. Emperor Constantine was concerned about what was happening. He gathered all Christians and asked them a question. Do you give up your job or Christianity (religion). What would be our response?Ninety per cent of people in 300 AD said they would give up jobs. Ten per cent stuck to the choice of religion. Emperor a pagan said unless you are faithful to your religion, how can you be faithful to your job?

Archbishop Moras who was the main celebrant said Christians are faithful to religion and country. Jesushad said to give to country what is due to the country and to religion what is its due.

In Pakistan and other places, Christians are killed. Life in the world is transient – only for a short while and at the most for a few years.

A Sr in West Bengal was rapped recently. Cardinal and others who went there told to forgive but said to the officials that they condemned the crime. Hosanna be the catch word for this week, the Archbishop reminded the gathering. People need to give life back to the Lord and not to the world. Choose Jesus and not Barabbas, Archbishop exhorted the people of different language groups.

Fr Jacob Britto, spiritual director of Bangalore Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (BCCRS) spoke of the power of the Holy Spirit. Referring to the language issue in the Archdiocese he said, people should have the freedom to pray in different languages and there should be no barriers of language in worship and prayer. He thanked all Sisters about 1700, Lay people -1200 for interceding for 40 days (24 hours a day) from Ash Wednesday- Feb 18- to Palm Sunday – March 29. Fr Britto CSsR who is also parish priest of Holy Ghost Parish for the last three years said many dioceses in the State was impressed to follow this example of intercession. He also thanked and lauded Fr Edward sdb, vice president of CRI for the work he does for the street children and his stand against injustice of all sorts. Fr Britto also thanked the nuns of St. Brigitta Convent where the intercession had been conducted for the last four years. He thanked all those who were involved in the 40-day intercession. Fr Anthony Mahendran, secretary to Archbishop, was among the concelebrants of Mass.

Later the Archbishop gave details of the language issue, spoke of the report of the expert committee and the degree from Rome besides the solution to the problem.

Earlier, palm leaves were blessed after prayers and the celebrants and people went in procession to the chapel. The theme of the intercession was ‘Pray for India –Our nation, our Blessing’. 1 Pet. 2:9 (‘But you are a chosen people..’) was the scripture passage given for reflection.

Br Martin Rebeiro and Colins conducted praise and worship and led all in singing. Those who received healing from it presented testimony and acknowledged it with gratitude.

Br Simon Rodrigues, chairman, BCCRS,thanked all who contributed towards the success of the entire programme, particularly the Convent of St Brigitta, Brunton Road. He also wished the PM to be his roommate in heaven, BBMP officials and other of that ilk to reach heaven as well through the intercessory prayers. He said, ‘Do not hate anybody, but pray for them.’

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