Sermon Notes by Fr.Eugene A. Thalman M.Mfor Homilists and Religion Teachers.    Embargo:  Catholics are welcome to read after Noon, Sunday

3/19/02       Passion Sunday (A)



3/19/02       Passion Sunday (A)


[Our Lady of Fatima is a Catholic parish of the Hong Kong diocese.  It is located on a one-square mile island.  The total population is over 30,000. About 50 Filipino Catholics attend the English/Tagalog Sunday Mass and about 120 Chinese Catholics attend the Chinese Mass.  The Church is also a center for pilgrimage. The pastor, Fr.Gene Thalman M.M., ordained 1960 is a Maryknoll missioner.  He enjoys sharing with you his weekly struggle to make the Word of God relevant to this particular community. [email protected]..  For Social Concerns Notes :  under  “Library .”     



            During these past six weeks of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, the Christians of  Our Lady of Fatima, Cheung Chau have been preparing for the three most sacred days of the Church year.  During these six weeks of Lent, we did mostly two things:  First of all, we faced our sinfulness and turned towards God in some new ways.  We were converted! Secondly, we reflected on the demands of the gospel and what Jesus is asking of us individually and as a community at this time of our history—year of our 50th Anniversary. We tried to make some changes and do some deepening of our commitment to our Savior.  These were our two assignments during the six weeks of Lent.


            The season of Lent ends this Thursday with the beginning of the Easter Triduum: Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil.  These are not three separate liturgies but rather one single three-day celebration of the Paschal Mystery.  On each of these three days we celebrate the same three main events:  Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.  Each day includes these three events.  During these three days we participate just as though we were with the apostles present at the Last Supper, with Mary under the cross or with the apostles who saw Jesus on Easter Sunday.  The liturgy of Holy Week makes it possible to be actively present in these saving events.




 Today, we Catholics gathered outside and made a solemn entry into the Church.  Please note, we entered the church not as individuals but as a community in procession. We carried palm branches to show our homage to Jesus our leader.  By this we showed that we wish to walk as a community with Jesus on this His final entrance into Jerusalem: his place of suffering and glory.  We wished to show God that as a band of discipleswe are with His son, Jesus.  Furthermore we are determined to join in his Passion, Death and Resurrection no matter what the cost.




Did you notice how our mood changed as our procession entered our Church? When we were outside the Church, we were joyfully proclaiming Jesus as our Leader and King.  But once inside the Church, our mood became more serious.  We began the liturgy of Passion Sunday.  The major focus of today’s liturgy is the Passion Gospel according to St. Matthew.


            Matthew’s Passion account is something like going to a buffet.  As the years progress I become increasingly wiser.  In my younger and more impetuous years, I would go to a buffet and begin eating the first things that I saw.  But now I carefully reconnoiter the entire table.   I take extensive notes and then retire to a quiet corner. There I plan my choices, the sequence and the amounts.  Only then do I take a plate and pick up my selections.  If I were not to do this, I would be in danger of filling my plate aimlessly.  And later I would discover that I had no appetite for my favorite foods.


            Matthew’s Passion gives us a preview of the many themes of the Easter Triduum.  Like at a buffet, we survey the various themes in the readings today to see which one suits our needs for nourishment.  Let me mention just a few of these themes.  There are many others.


            THE OBEDIENCE OF JESUS:  Is there something that God wants us to do and we have not yet obeyed Him?


            RESURRECTION FROM DEATH: Does God want to give us a “new life” but we are too attached to the “old life.”  Do we prefer the security of Galilee while Jesus heads to Jerusalem?


            JESUS FORGIVING HIS ENEMIES: Do we have difficulty forgiving and loving nasty people who irritate us and hurt us?


            JESUS CARRYING HIS CROSS:  Is there some cross that we are carrying that seems too heavy and we wish to get rid of it and let others carry it?  Do we refuse to be a Simon of Cyrene?






I will now be generous and give you three precious minutes of my sermon time to let you and your family choose a WORD/THEME that you will repeat often during the coming week.  That way you will think a lot about that WORD and it will nourish you and make you different.  [Catholics agree that this quiet time is the longest three minutes of the week.  Others may complain: “I go to Church to pray.  I don’t go to Church to think.”]





3/19/02       Passion Sunday (A)






THEME:   Invite Christians to carefully plan their Holy Week Menu.


TEXT:  “The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.”




“Recalling thus the mysteries of redemption, the Church opens to the faithful the riches of her Lord’s powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present at all times, and the faithful are enabled to lay hold of them and become filled with saving grace.”  Walter M. Abbott, (Editor), Documents of Vatican II (New York: Guild Press, 1966), #103, p. 168. 



Dear Father, Your last Sunday’s suggestion that I think about my death was inappropriate.  I go to Church to be cheered up. Consequently, last week, each morning and several times during the day, I purposely decided that I would not think of my own death.  So there!   Flintney Bluek.


Chewing, Digesting and Practicing God’s Word

3/19/02       Passion Sunday (A)

Name _______ GRADE_____________


  1. Please list the themes of Holy Week.  (One word is sufficient for each.)


a. _______  b. __________   c. _______    d. _________   e. ______


  1. Which of these themes do you choose to focus on during Holy Week 2002? ______


  1. Explain your choice. _________________________________________


  1. On the practical level, how will you explore this theme in your life, the life of your family and/or Our Lady of Fatima community.


  1. How hopeful are you that this Passion Week, 2002,  will change your life?

      __ Very hopeful __ Hopeful  __  A little hopeful  __Not at all hopeful