For Sunday, April 1, 2012
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
For the Procession with Palms:
Mark 11:1-10 or
For the Mass:
Polling seems to be the rage in everything. We will certainly have our fill of political polls in the weeks and months to come. The primary battle among the Republican candidates has borne that out, as news organizations move from state to state to find out who is up and who is down ahead of the actual election or caucus results. This is a week without any state primary taking place, so the public has a brief respite from wall-to-wall coverage on the primaries (unless you live in Wisconsin, which votes on April 3, and is now being carpet-bombed with ads from the candidates and their super-PACs).
But other polling continues to make news. On Monday the results of a New York Times/CBS News poll found that sixty-nine percent of Americans felt that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. That is a huge turnaround from two-and-a-half years ago when over fifty percent of respondents felt we should be in the war, and just under forty percent said we should not be involved. Wars in Vietnam and Iraq have seen similar responses in polls when the conflicts extend for years.
Also in the news this week are polls about Americans' attitudes toward the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The US Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week about the law's constitutionality in three days of oral arguments. The polls presented by various organizations show a diverse opinion about the law in general as well as specific parts of it. While more people overall disapprove of the law than are in favor of it, huge majorities favor particular provisions like coverage for pre-existing conditions (eighty-five percent) and keeping children on their parents' plan through age 26 (sixty-eight percent). As with the war in Afghanistan, poll numbers can vary from year to year, depending on the political winds.
The Scripture readings for this weekend offer their own type of polling results. As we begin Mass, Jesus is up in the polls. Everyone is for him. The people of Jerusalem turn out in droves to hail him as Messiah and King. Everybody wants Jesus!
How quickly the mood of the crowd changes. When we get to the story of the Passion, we find out that the fickle crowds no longer want Jesus as Messiah. Instead, they want him crucified!
Polls can give us insight into the attitudes of large groups of people. They can also point out the changes that take place over time in those very same attitudes. But faith isn't really subject to a poll.
Faith is a commitment, a response to God's call. In the week ahead, we'll remember and celebrate what Jesus did for us. His commitment to fulfill his Father's will did not waver, even in the most trying times, even when the poll numbers were totally against him. Jesus, "...emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:7-8).
There is no poll that can measure that love, and none that could be taken among us that would measure our acceptance of that grace of salvation.
you call your people to know the saving power
of your Son as he hands himself over in death
in fulfillment of your will.
May we always bear witness to the faith we have accepted
and show with our lives your eternal love
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION
The annual Good Friday collection supports the shrines in the Holy Land cared for by the Franciscan Custody. You can invite parish members to learn more about these places and to make a virtual tour of many of the sanctuaries by visiting: www.custodia.org/.
2012 RCIA INSTITUTES
New events continue to be added to the calendar for RCIA Institutes sponsored by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. As the work of your parish RCIA reaches fruition with the Easter sacraments, invite the team members to consider participating in a summer event to deepen their understanding of the good work they do. A listing can be found at: www.naforum.org/wordpress/events/.
2012 CATHOLIC PARISH WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Would you like $500 for your parish? Is your parish website informative and attractive? Enter the 2012 Catholic Parish Website of the Year Contest sponsored by LPi and the Catholic Tech Talk Blog. Check out the entry details at: http://catholictechtalk.com/contests/.
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