Palm Sunday is known to Christians around the world as the beginning of Holy Week — the week leading up to Easter, and the events following that first Palm Sunday that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The Bible tells us that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that holy day to glad hosannas and praises. The people lining the street placed palm leaves and even their garments in Jesus’ path, and shouted their love and adoration to him as he rode into the city on a donkey.
But all too soon, the praises ceased, as the once-adoring crowd became an angry mob calling for Jesus’ crucifixion, with even one of his own disciples betraying him. What a difference a few days can make.
Palm Sunday is this weekend. As I reflect on this holy time, one can hardly call these days we are living in “holy.” There are drive-by-shootings, road rage and hit-and-run accidents, often leaving innocent victims in the aftermath. With so much unholy activity going on in our community, it is hard to see this day as the beginning of Holy Week. Yet, by faith, believers still see it is a holy day.
Even with all the horrendous acts of violence happening around us, I am reminded that in the days Christ lived, the people back then also committed violent crimes against each other. But through it all, some believed in the teachings of Jesus, who told his followers to love each other as he loved them and to love their neighbors as they love themselves. Jesus admonished his followers to live in peace, even with our enemies, if possible.
To some, that is a tall order. It isn’t often easy to be at peace with your enemies. Still, some of us simply take Jesus at his word , prayerfully putting his teachings in action. That way, even in tumultuous times, it is possible to live peacefully, lovingly and faithfully with each other just as Jesus did when he walked the earth and taught his followers to do so, too.
Jesus isn’t here in the flesh today. But those of us who believe his Word, believe his Spirit is with us and because of that, we can have a deep-settled peace as we continue this journey called life. We know that though trials and temptations come, we have the assurance that we can make it through because by faith, we can see Jesus walking by our side.
So, as we celebrate this holiest of weeks, let’s remember that though the storms of violence swirl around us, we can have peace in our hearts. The first step to to that peace, is to treat others as we wish to be treated.
ARCHBISHOP TO CELEBRATE PALM SUNDAY
Archbishop Thomas Wenski will celebrate a Mass for Palm Sunday 10 a.m. Sunday, March 20, at St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 NW Second Ave. The archbishop will be joined by the Czech Republic’ Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Pavel Belobradek.
Prior to the Mass and weather permitting, Wenski will bless the palms outside the cathedral. The congregation will then enter the cathedral in procession, singing hymns. The procession is symbolic to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.
Also, Wenski will celebrate Chrism Mass at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the cathedral. At the Mass, the archbishop will bless the holy oils that will be used in the parishes throughout the year for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and anointing of the sick.
Those priests who are celebrating 25, 50 and more years in the priesthood will be honored during the service.
Those celebrating 25 years are the Reverends Jose D. Lopez, William H. Bowles, Monsignor Michael Curruthers, Jorge Presmanes, Patrick J. Naughton, Damian Flanagan and Arturo Kannee.
Celebrating 50 years of service are the Reverends Michael Sullivan, John McLaughlin, John O’Grady, and Dominic O’Dwyer.
Celebrating 60 years of priestly service are the Reverends Monsignor Seamus Doyle, Monsignor Vincent Kelly, and Maximo Leoz.
SOUTH DADE METHODIST CHURCHES
The South Dade Methodist churches invite the community to celebrate services with their congregations during Holy Week.
The services include a 6 p.m. dinner, followed by Communion service at 7 p.m. on Maundy Thursday at Redland Community United Methodist Church, 18700 SW 248th St. in Redland.
▪ Maundy Thursday service at Branches UMC at 145 SW Fifth Ave. in Florida City, to include foot washing and communion at 6:30 p.m.
▪ First UMC of Homestead will have a Passover meal at 5:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday services will include a Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. at Harris Field, at the Southeast corner of 312th Street and U.S. 1 in Homestead; and Good Friday worship service at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist church 622 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead.
THE ROAD TO EASTER
The community is invited to “The Road to Easter” at Christ the King Lutheran Church this Holy Season. The week’s events and worship services include a sermon-drama, The Road to the Garden, at noon and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, and Holy Communion — to be served in groups of 12, reminiscent of the Last Supper.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday , March 25, the church will present The Road to the Cross, a Tenebrae service of shadows, featuring the performance of Faure’s Requiem.
The church is at 11295 SW 57th Ave. in Pinecrest.
TEMPLE SINAI PURIM CELEBRATION
Temple Sinai at 18801 NE 22nd Ave. invites the community to its Purim celebration to feature a performance by The Maccabeats, an a capella musical group.
According to information from the temple, the group, formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, recently emerged as both Jewish music and a capella phenomena.
The celebration will also include a Purim carnival with games, rides, bounce houses, food court and other treats.
The activities and food court will start at 5 p.m., followed at 5:30 by a traditional Purim Megillah reading. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Activities prior to the concert are free. Concert tickets may be purchased at, www.tsnd.org/maccabeats. You may also call Veronica Evelson at 305-932-9010.
ASSOCIATION FOR JEWISH SPECIAL EDUCATION
The Association for Jewish Special Education will celebrate Purim from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, at Bet Breira Samuel Or Olom, 9400 SW 87th Ave. Rabbi Jaime Aklepi and Cantor Don Bennett lead the reading of the Megillah, the traditional Purim story of how Queen Esther saved the Jewish People of Shushan, Persia.
The celebration will include noisemakers (graggers) for everyone in attendance, holiday songs and games and crafts, time permitting. Refreshments will be served and will include hamantaschen, sandwiches, fruit and juice.
For more information call 305-205-3846 or 954-442-9642.
YOUTH LEADERSHIP MIAMI CONFERENCE
The deadline is Thursday, March 24, for teens to participate in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce/Youth Leadership Miami Conference on April 8 and 9 at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus, Kovens Conference Center, 3000 NE 151st St.
The two-day, fun and high-energy conference brings together high school students from public and private schools from throughout Miami Dade County, with the goal of expanding the youth’s community awareness and broadening personal experiences and exploring future professional goals.
The program is open to all students who are in good standing at their school and who are interested in issues affecting Greater Miami, its youth and developing leadership and personal skills.
The conference is free and will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Students may receive community service hours for attending both days. Participating seniors may also have an opportunity to win a scholarship from the South Florida Progress Foundation.
To participate, students must complete the application online: http://miamichamber.com/YLM2016.
ZIKA FORUM WEDNESDAY AT UM
The University of Miami Health System will present “Zika Forum: State of the Science, Public Health Safety and Ethics” from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, 1330 Miller Dr. on the University of Miami campus.
The forum is presented in partnership with University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Institute of AIDS and Emerging Infectious Diseases, International Medicine Institute, University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade.
Experts from the medical field, public health, neurology, virology and bioethics will be there to discuss the state of the science, medical implications, public health concerns and ethical challenges of the Zika virus.
The event is free.
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