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Palm Sunday of the Lord

Palm Sunday of the Lord

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Published by: SaintJoseph on Mar 31, 2009
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 All Glory, Laud, and Honor:
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s PassionScripture ReadingsProcession with Palms (Optional)
Mark 11:1-10
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1-15:47Prepared by: Fr. James Cuddy, O.P.1.
Subject Matter 
The procession of Our Lord into Jerusalem and his subsequent Passion seem to be markedby elements that stand in opposition. In him and in his saving action, we see the interplay of triumph and shame, glorification and suffering.2.
Exegetical Notes
Processional Gospel:
Christ’s true identity is gradually being revealed. On other occasions inMark’s Gospel he warns people to keep silent (cf. 8:30). Now, he allows the crowds to fetehim as he enters Jerusalem as a king. The fullness of his identity will not be manifest,however, until he mounts the throne of the Cross. His sending the disciples aheaddemonstrates his foreknowledge of what is to come; he enters into his Passion freely andfully.
First Reading:
Isaiah prophesies that the Messiah will be horribly mistreated when he comes.The image of the Suffering Servant’s face is particularly interesting: while being struck andspit upon, he nevertheless steels himself to endure it all, setting his face like flint.
Second Reading:
This Christ hymn summarizes two crucial elements of today’s liturgy: thedegradation of Christ (“he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,. . .becoming obedientto the point of death, even death on a cross”) and his exultation (“God greatly exalted himand bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus everyknee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongueconfess that Jesus Christ is Lord”).
Gospel of Our Lord’s Passion:
While Luke and John have the woman anoint Jesus’ feet,Mark has her anoint his head as an acknowledgement of his Messianic dignity (cf. 2 Kings9:6).
The Aramaic words for son (“bar”) and father (“abba”) constitute the name
. Heis, “the son of the Father.” When the crowd opts for his release, they are tragically choosingthe wrong son.
The seamless garment that Christ wears recalls the seamless garment that the high priestwould wear when he entered the Holy of Holies.3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
The desire to embrace his Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus' whole life, for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. . . .
Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .” Thus heexpresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. . . . By accepting in hishuman will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive.
It is love “to the end” that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption andreparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered hislife. . . . The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses andembraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makespossible his redemptive sacrifice for all.
Jesus' violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God's plan . . .
. . . which raises the question about the freedom of Judas, Herod, Pilate, et al. To this, the
says: “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. Whentherefore he establishes his eternal plan of ‘predestination’, he includes in it each person'sfree response to his grace. . . .” (
This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.
First, itis a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man,who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
St. John Chrysostom
Oh! the madness, yea, the avarice of the traitor . . . Judas, takencaptive by this madness of avarice, forgets the conversation, the table of Christ, his owndiscipleship, Christ's warnings and persuasion.
Venerable Bede
The Lord who had foretold His Passion, prophesied also of the traitor, inorder to give him room for repentance, that understanding that his thoughts were known, hemight repent. Wherefore it is said, And in the evening he comes with the twelve.
St. Gregory the Great
When His Passion was approaching, He is said to have taken breadand given thanks. He therefore gave thanks, who took upon Him the stripes of other men'swickedness; He who did nothing worthy of smiting, humbly gives a blessing in His Passion, toshow us, what each should do when beaten for his own sins, since He Himself bore calmlythe stripes due to the sin of others; furthermore to show us, what we who are the subjects of 
the Father should do under correction, when He who is His equal gave thanks under thelash.
St. Leo the Great
True reverence for the Lord’s Passion means fixing the eyes of our hearton Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity. . . . No one, however weak, isdenied a share in the victory of the Cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ.His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does itbring to those who turn to him in repentance.
Pope John Paul II
Christ drew close to the world of human suffering through the fact of having taken
this suffering upon his very self.
During his public activity, he experienced notonly fatigue, homelessness, misunderstanding even on the part of those closest to him, but,more than anything, he became progressively more and more isolated and encircled byhostility and the preparations for putting him to death. . . . Christ goes towards his Passionand death with full awareness of the mission that he has to fulfill. . . . Precisely by means of his Cross he must strike at the roots of evil, planted in the history of man and in human souls.Precisely by means of his Cross he must accomplish
the work of salvation.
This work, in theplan of eternal Love, has a redemptive character.
Romano Guardini
Jesus’ entire existence is the translation of power into humility . . . intoobedience to the will of the Father. Obedience is not secondary for Jesus, but forms the coreof his being.5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
The Passion accounts (culled from each one of the Gospels) are swarming with saints andsinners, each one worthy of consideration and each one inviting us to take our place in thenarrative. While separated by time and space, each individual has a part to play in Christ’sPassion. The congregation’s participation in the proclamation of the Passion as the
recognizes this fact. (Or as St. Alphonsus Liguori’s writes:
My adorable Jesus, it was not Pilate. No, it was my sins that condemned you to die.
) His blood is on our hands, but theevangelists offer other characters whose virtues we wish to emulate and whose vices wepray to root out of our lives.6.
Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI
Jesus’ power is power based on love, love becoming powerful. It is power that shows us theway from all that is tangible and visible to the invisible and the truly real of God’s powerfullove. It is power as the way that has love as its goal setting people on their way: into thetranscendence of love.
The poverty that Jesus means - that the prophets mean - presupposes above all inner freedom from the greed for possession and the mania for power. This is a greater reality thanmerely a different distribution of possessions, which would still be in the material domain andthereby make hearts even harder. It is first and foremost a matter of purification of heart,through which one recognizes possession as responsibility, as a duty towards others, placingoneself under God's gaze and letting oneself be guided by Christ, who from being richbecame poor for our sake (cf. II Cor 8: 9).

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