Our Lenten journey is just about over. Here we are greeting Jesus at the city gates. Will we have the strength to journey with him this coming week? The week we call “Holy” is a challenge for all Christians to walk the Way of the Cross with the Lord. Of course, each of us is busy in our own right and there are challenges which present themselves to us even when we are so determined to be a faithful follower. I remember several years ago, I was the Parochial Vicar at Corpus Christi Parish in Sandwich. We had suffered the brutal effects of a harsh winter which forced the closure of school on so many occasions that it looked as if they students would be in school until the middle of July! Well, it just so happened that the school committee made the decision to make Good Friday a make-up day and so informed the students and their parents that they would have to attend school. I was outraged. In this predominately Christian society, even if you are a faithful churchgoer or attend with less frequency, Good Friday is a somber and solemn reminder for all Christians that the ultimate sacrifice was made for us. The school committee did not back down nor did I. Teachers and students alike both came to the realization…with a little bit of help…that they could take that day off and it would be considered a religious holiday for them. The plan backfired. A significant portion of the student body and the academic staff called out of school for religious reasons. In the end, the Town of Sandwich has made every Good Friday the official start to the Spring Holiday. It has been recently been brought to my attention that other local school committees and departments are considering similar steps to ensure that school comes to an end at the normal time. I thought about this in light of the First Reading that we hear proclaimed this Palm Sunday from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah reminds us that we need to be more like him when our faith and morals are challenged. “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” (Is. 50:4-5)
We have a sacred duty to speak the truth. Sure, sometimes it is just easier to be complacent and keep our mouths closed but we need to speak the truth. As we journey we our Savior this holiest of weeks, we pray for the strength to always be true to our Christian identity and never turn our backs on the Lord.