Pastoral Letter January 21, 2018

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

Well, I did it. The time for action came, and I did it. I responded to the call. You’ll be happy with the results.

I ordered the palms for Palm Sunday.

Indeed. I asked that a check be prepared to pay (in advance) for our palms. Nick graciously and immediately obliged. I put the check in the handy little order form that becomes a mailing envelope and I sent it off. Our order has probably arrived in Alamo, Texas by now. Boom, done.

Please know, that this event is more than a task that is checked off of my office “to do” list. The symbolism is rich and significant.

This Sunday, we will read the Gospel Story of Zacchaeus. The little man who climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. This Sunday Reading is a turning point in the church calendar.

Much like the ordering of Palm Sunday palms, it signals that something important is around the bend. It heralds the preparations that must be made ready in anticipation of life changing events.

These preparations signal the commencement of the pre-Lenten season. These weeks will give way to the Great Fast. Those weeks will fold into the Saturday of Lazarus and Palm Sunday. Then we will take the steps of Holy Week.

We will anticipate the Resurrection of our Lord.

Then, we will celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

It all starts with the Reading of Zacchaeus. And before that, the ordering of palms. These events call to mind:

that we will soon be making spiritual decisions and making life-altering choices as the Fast approaches,

that we will explore the challenges of ascetic struggle,

that we will submit ourselves to greater levels of discipline and self control,

that prayer will be increased,

that generosity will be intensified,

that Christ will become, once again, the center,

that Christ might remain, once and for all, the center.

Palms are ordered; the first step, each year, in preparing for Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha.

The church will be ready.

Our hearts must be, as well.

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony