Cardinal Dolan told a television and livestream audience they are sharing a “Good Friday moment” with Jesus during the coronavirus crisis as the cardinal offered Palm Sunday Mass in a nearly empty St. Patrick’s Cathedral April 5.
“We find ourselves now in a Good Friday moment with this vicious coronavirus,” he said in his homily. “We’re apprehensive. We’re anxious. We’re alone. Many feel by themselves and attacked by the virus with families and friends so worried and brave health care workers tending to them, and I have to say it, we may be tempted to lose trust in the one we believe to be our Lord, our Savior, the way, the truth, and the life.
“We may be lured to doubt him, even to abandon him. We may be led to remain in this Good Friday moment of rejecting him, mocking him, believing that darkness, despair and death have the last word, instead of the Word, the one who is our life and our light, Jesus, my Lord, My God, my all.”
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the Gospel of Matthew, followed the Palm Sunday readings from Isaiah and the Philippians.
“We’re somberly realistic as we acknowledge what’s on the shelf between those two happy bookends of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday,” Cardinal Dolan said. “What comes between we just heard it, his betrayal, his gruesome passion, his suffering and death on the cross. Long have we faithful contemplated the meaning of that dramatic decline in the faith of Jesus that occurred between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.”
Cardinal Dolan concluded his homily by saying God’s love is always present.
“Our Holy Week journey, starting today Palm Sunday, might be stalled on Good Friday afternoon, but we never drop those palms of victory for Easter is so near,” he said. “God is the beginning and the end, the starting line and the finish line and what comes between can never separate us from the love of God.”
The Mass began with the blessing of the palms by Cardinal Dolan and the reading of the Gospel from Matthew by Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, describing Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Then the cardinal welcomed those watching the live television broadcast and others viewing online.
“You’re all very very welcome here for Palm Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, America’s parish church,” the cardinal said. “We miss you very much being with us physically as do all of your parish priests miss having you in the parish for Sunday Mass, but we make the best of this and we know Jesus is with us, and we’re gathered together in faith and hope.”
Following his closing prayer, Cardinal Dolan thanked viewers for joining in the celebration, and invited everybody to watch the Holy Week liturgies and Easter Sunday Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“You know everybody this church, small c, may be closed. The Church, capital C, goes on radiantly as is obvious in the prayer and unity this morning at Palm Sunday Mass,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Cardinal Dolan welcomed Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, as he blessed stacked food in the sanctuary that will be distributed to people in need in the archdiocese.
“On the night before you died, you gave us bread and wine so through your continuation in the Church the poor and hungry be fed, especially at this troubled time,” said Cardinal Dolan during the blessing.
Television/livestream: Easter Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. on WPIX-11, www.saintpatrickscathedral.org/live