Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year B)

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Homily for Palm Sunday of the Lords Passion: Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

 He Died for Us

Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

A: Matt 26:14 – 27:66 // B: Mark 14:1 – 15:47 // C: Luke 22:14 – 23:56

In the old liturgy, before Vatican II, the reading of the Passion was greeted with total silence. There was no homily. Even the concluding acclamation: “This is the gospel of the Lord” was omitted. On a day like this, I sometimes feel that the most eloquent response to the word of God we have proclaimed is silence. Even the best of homilies could be a distraction from the deep meditation in which many of us find ourselves at the end of the story of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. But then also, a homily might be useful to direct and focus our meditation in the right direction. Otherwise we might be like little Johnny who was failing all his exams in the public school until his parents decided to send him to a Catholic school. At the end of the year Johnny came out on top of the class. When his parents asked him what made him change so dramatically Johnny replied, “You see, the moment I walked into that new school and saw that guy hanging on the cross, I knew that the people here were dead serious; so I decided not to take any chances.”

The crucifix might have helped Johnny to improve his scores but it is easy to see that Johnny has misread the crucifix. The man on the cross is not there to scare little boys but to show them how much he loves them. He is not there to show them what would happen to them if they misbehaved; he is there to show them that he has already paid the penalty for their sins. He is not dying on the cross for what he has done but for what you and I have done; because he loves us. He died for us.

“He died for us:” Many of us have heard this phrase so many times that it now carries with it neither the shock of someone dying on account of what we have done nor the good news of our being delivered from death. For us to hear this message again today as for the first time, the story of a man who literally died for the misdeeds of his brother might help.

Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hard-working and God-fearing man and the younger a dishonest, gun-totting, substance-abusing rogue. Many a night the younger man would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash and the elder brother would spend hours plead ing with him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the young man would have none of it. One night the junior brother runs into the house with a smoking gun and blood-stained clothes. “I killed a man,” he announced. In a few minutes the house was surrounded by police and the two brothers knew there was no escape. “I did not mean to kill him,” stammered the young brother, “I don’t want to die.” By now the police were knocking at the door. The senior brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with the blood-stained clothes of his killer brother. The police arrested him, tried him and condemned him to death for murder. He was killed and his junior brother lived. He died for his brother.

Can we see that this story of crime and death is basically a story of love? Similarly the story of the suffering and death of Jesus which we heard in the Passion is basically a story of love – God’s love for us. How should we respond to it? Well, how would you expect the junior brother to respond to the death of the senior brother? We would expect him to respond with GRATITUDE. Gratitude to his generous brother should make him turn a new leaf and never go back to a life of crime. He would be a most ungrateful idiot if he should continue living the sort of life that made his brother die. Gratitude should make him keep the memory of his brother alive. No day should pass that he should not remember his brother who died for him. Finally, if the dead brother has got a wife and children we should expect the saved brother, out of gratitude, to love and care for them. What God expects from us today is gratitude – gratitude strong enough to make us hate sin of every shade and colour; strong enough to make us translate our love of God into love of all of God’s people.

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Homily for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion: Commemoration of the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

What Is the Name of Your Donkey?

Year A: Matt 21:1-11

Year B: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16

Year C: Luke 19:28-40

What different story would we be telling today if the unnamed owners of the donkey had refused to give it up? Maybe we would have no story of the triumphal entry, at least not in the way Jesus wanted it. No matter how unknown a person is, he or she can still play a crucial role in the unfolding of God’s plan. The Lord needs each one of us as he needed the unnamed owners of the donkey in the reading. We are not told who these owners of the donkey are but the fact that they understood that “the Lord” refers to Jesus and voluntarily gave up the donkey shows that they could be his secret disciples or admirers. Otherwise one would have expected them to answer, “But who is this Lord who needs my donkey?”

A donkey was a very big thing in those day. The donkey was the equivalent of a car, a truck and a tractor all in one. It was a car because people used it to move around and do their shopping, a truck because it was used to carry load, and a tractor because it was used in cultivating the land. Add to this the fact that the donkey had never been ridden, that means it was brand new and had a very high market value. You can see that giving up the donkey just because the Lord needed it was a very big sacrifice. It was a generous and heroic act of faith.

Now, compare the faith response of the owners of the donkey to that of many of the faithful in our churches today.

A visiting preacher was really getting the congregation moving. Near the end of his sermon he said, “This church has really got to walk,” to which someone in the back yelled, “Let her walk preacher.” The preacher then said, “If this church is going to go it’s got to get up and run,” to which someone again yelled with gusto, “Let her run preacher.” Feeling the surge of the church, the preacher then said with even louder gusto, “If this church is going to go it’s got to really fly,” and once again with ever greater gusto, someone yelled, “Let her fly preacher, let her fly.” The preacher then seized the moment and stated with even greater gusto, “If this church is really going to fly it’s going to need money.” There was silence. Then someone in the back seat cried, “Let her walk preacher, let her walk.”

Max Lucado reminds us that each of us has got a donkey that the Lord needs. Here is his reflection on using our donkey for the service of the Lord:

Sometimes I get the impression that God wants me to give him something and sometimes I don’t give it because I don’t know for sure, and then I feel bad because I’ve missed my chance. Other times I know he wants something but I don’t give it because I’m too selfish. And other times, too few times, I hear him and I obey him and feel honored that a gift of mine would be used to carry Jesus to another place. And still other times I wonder if my little deeds today will make a difference in the long haul.

Maybe you have those questions, too. All of us have a donkey. You and I each have something in our lives, which, if given back to God, could, like the donkey, move Jesus and his story further down the road. Maybe you can sing or hug or program a computer or speak Swahili or write a check.

Whichever, that’s your donkey.

Whichever, your donkey belongs to him. It really does belong to him. Your gifts are his and the donkey was his. The original wording of the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples is proof: “If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, you are to say, ‘Its Lord is in need.'” [Max Lucado, And the Angels were Silent, p. 54]

So, what is the name of your donkey? The Lord has need of it.

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Palm Sunday – Cycle B

 Homily # 1

The name of this weekend’s celebration is “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” Just this title should give us a clue that something unusual is happening. Our celebration started differently to day with a gospel reading outside of church followed by our procession into church to reenact Jesus’ jubilant procession into Jerusalem.

By the time of the regular gospel reading, jubilation disappeared as we recalled Jesus’ suffering and death.

What happed between these two gospel readings? Did the crowd do a complete turnaround?

I don’t think so. I think there was one kind of people outside of the city of Jerusalem and another kind inside.

The processional gospel began with the words, “When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem….” So, it seems that all this jubilation occurred outside of the city. These outsiders were excited about Jesus as the long-expected savior riding into the City of David on a colt as predicted by the prophet Zechariah.

Jesus seems to know what he is doing and what lies ahead by the way he controls the situation by telling his disciples that he needs a colt. Jesus is going to Jerusalem and knows what is going to happen there, the same thing that had happened to prophets before him.

People spread cloaks and branches on the road as had been for kings before Jesus. The people were anticipating the arrival of David’s Kingdom; they see Jesus as linked to the glorious moment when the David-like messiah would come

This all ends during the passion narrative when the crowds shouted to Pilate for Jesus’ death: “Crucify him!” These were a different kind of people, for this gospel reading begins with, “the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.” The crowd inside Jerusalem certainly isn’t the same crowd that was outside.

It seems to be the outsiders who are the ones excited about Jesus. Think of their life-long desperation. They are the gospel “highway and by-way” people, those who never get special places at table, invitations to upper-crust banquets, or places of honor in the temple and synagogue. They have already experienced or heard about how welcome their lot is with Jesus. Finally, there is someone from God to tell them they are not forgotten; indeed, God loves them. Jesus, the one with authority, has recognized them, healed their afflictions, and forgiven their sins. They know too that Jesus is a Galilean, an outsider, one of their own, raised up by God.

Are we part of the outsiders who are seeking Jesus or are we with the insiders still trying to control him?

Although the gospel passion has an evil crowd, we must read the passion story to find out that God sent his only Son to die for everyone’s sins; yes, and even for the sins of the crowd that put him to death. And we will be assured of this when we come back for Easter Mass next weekend to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, something that no one else ever did.


Homily # 2

Have you ever asked someone wearing a cross as jewelry just why they do it?  Unfortunately, neither have I. But don’t you have to wonder why a symbol of torture and death becomes a pretty bauble around someone’s neck or hanging from their ears? It seems most incongruous when someone who lives a life frequently on the cover of the checkout aisle tabloids is wearing a cross for a necklace. They dangle from rear view mirrors, are tattooed on arms, bosoms, everywhere on people’s anatomy, they are embroidered on clothing, they are everywhere as decoration.

But there is no decoration value whatever in the cross we meet today. The cross is truly a weapon of destruction, of individuals and of cultures. It was used by the Romans to ensure that no one got out of line. And if they did, there were no second chances.  There were always people hanging on those crosses on Calvary and in other places around the Empire.  Some held people newly there, some slowly dying people, others held corpses rotting away to prove power and dominion. It is interesting that power was so openly displayed in those days, for today it is more likely that the dominating power would hide, would “forbid recognition of the suffering it produces.” (taken from Theodor Adorno) However, it is quite clear what the cross is in the Passion narrative and what its purpose is—-we are dealing with an instrument for execution, like the gallows, an electric chair or the gurney used for lethal injection.

Do our Gospel readings give a disjointed sense today? We do have a disjointed celebration today, we started with hosanna and waving palms and finish with the crucifying, dying and burying of the one for whom we shouted hosanna. How was it he found the cross? Or, really, how was it that it found him? NO, he was not sent to be a torture victim, but people made him one. He knew it could happen when he worked among the people, preaching, curing. That still does not mean he greatly desired it. He only accepted it, finally. It was people who made it their supposed final solution, It was people urged on by leaders seeking to protect their ways against one who was calling them to new places. So, he poured out his life in witness until they could no longer take him. We are called to that journey and to do likewise.

We need to do that final journey again, though briefly. In the Gospel Passion reading as Mark recorded it we saw Jesus him prepared by anointing, give us the first Eucharist, pray in the garden, be handed over, be abandoned or denied by all but a couple of people, condemned on trumped up charges, tortured, crucified, mocked again, and finally crying out in despair before he dies, and laid in a tomb. We also heard him telling of the last things, the things we call eschatological: rejoicing in the new reign of God, being raised up, being exalted with God, and the tearing of the veil in the temple, showing him as recognized as the Son of God. How wonderful that in his last hours he speaks only of hope and future. He speaks words of his personal truth, no words of revenge, nothing which would be different from his true character. The Passion, Holy Week, the Triduum these are our way to re-member his triumph on the cross and from the tomb. They begin our walk as believers.

I hope that when Lent ends and the Triduum begins on Thursday that we will, all of us together, enter into a very long liturgy, one which begins Thursday evening and ends at the end of the Vigil on Saturday night.  We let you go home between the parts of the celebration. We will in fact enter our High Holy Days, like the Jewish people did, only with a difference: the Passover meal now is of greater importance than leaving Egypt . It will be a meal, to be our Eucharistic Celebration in which we commemorate the way he told us to treat one another in the washing of the feet. This must be a terribly difficult task for us, since we only do it once a year.

On Friday, with the help of John’s Gospel we will join the last hours with a renewed sense, pray our petitions for the world and venerate the wood of the cross. It won’t be any jewelry cross, but a cross capable of reminding us that life was given up for us on a piece of wood like this.  When it is done we will have darkness in our Church to remember silently the time in the tomb, the time of great despair on the part of those who had walked with him and who now watched him die and felt loss beyond our imagination.

And then we will celebrate resurrection like the early church did, with a vigil and new fire and a pillar of fire, the paschal candle, with new Catholics through baptism and through confirmation.  A new era, the era of the Way of believers will slowly come upon us in light and alleluias. It will be messy and it will be glorious. It will be like life.

If we were Jewish and this was the local synagogue, tickets would be needed to get in. My greatest joy would be to celebrate the Triduum services so packed we could scarcely move. I hope I am assisting at our High Holy Days long enough to see that we get it. The cross is real, what happened and happens on it is real. The cross has splinters which gouge us and hurt. It is not decoration, it is our life.  It is the cost of being true.

Perhaps we can remember from a sermon preached long ago, Lord Jesus, you are the joy and salvation of the whole world; whether we see you seated on an ass or hanging on the cross, let each one of us bless and praise you, so that when we see you reigning on high we may praise you forever and ever, for to you belong praise and honor throughout all ages. Amen   (from a sermon by Guerric of Igny)


Homily # 3

Mark 11,1-10; Isaiah 50,4-7; Philippians 2,6-11; Mark 14,1 – 15,47

Once, at a joint conference of Catholics and Jews, a Jewish scholar made the remark that the faith of Catholics was based on the sin of Adam and Eve. A Catholic immediately observed: “This is not true. Catholic faith is based on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This simple exchange marked by good will but misunderstanding underlines the essential orientation of Catholicism. It’s faith is based on the Resurrection as God’s witness to the truth of Christ’s life and teaching, and its life is based on the life which comes from the risen Jesus. This essential orientation should be always kept in mind when considering the passion and death of the Lord.

In the reading from Mark 11 at the beginning of today’s liturgy the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah is portrayed. Jesus’ choice of a donkey to ride on indicates that He is thinking of Zechariah 9,9, which portrays the future king of the line of David as humbly entering into the Davidic city, Jerusalem. The crowd is portrayed as receiving Jesus with the words of Psalm 118,25-26 as a sign of their loyalty.

Chapters 14 and 15 contain the account of the Last Supper, the trial of Jesus, and His suffering and death. Traditional Catholic piety gives us two marvellous ways to unite ourselves with Jesus during His passion and death. One way is the Stations of the Cross, which enable us to accompany Jesus, step by step, as He proceeds from His being condemned to death by Pilate to His being taken down from the cross in death. The second way is the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, which enable us to accompany Jesus from His agony in the garden to His death on the cross in the company of Mary. But as we are united with Our Lord we should never forget that His death issued in the Resurrection. The Resurrection is God’s official answer to all the questions and problems posed by the suffering of the innocent Jesus: in God’s eyes all that Jesus suffered has as its ultimate purpose Jesus’ entry into eternal life. God’s interpretation should be our interpretation. And if we are faithful to Jesus in carrying our cross after Him, we shall accordingly enter with Him into eternal life.

There are a number of individual aspects in Chapters 14 and 15 of Mark which merit particular attention but which lie outside the scope of the Stations of the Cross or of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. The institution of the Holy Eucharist, for example, is central to Catholic participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus: Holy Thursday is devoted to this tremendous mystery. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas and the betrayal of Jesus by Peter also merit attention: it is all too easy for a Christian to forget that sin is essentially a betrayal of Jesus and all that He stands for. Jesus’ reply to the high priest before the Sanhedrin clearly indicates Jesus’ acceptance of the status of Messiah: the words of Jesus’ acceptance, “I am” are an echo of the speech of God in the Old Testament and thereby suggest that Jesus’ considers Himself divine as well. The presence of many women watching the death of Jesus is noteworthy: this presence should remind us that the death of Jesus was marked not only by the cowardice of many men but by the courage of many women.

Perhaps, however, the central aspect to be noted in the death of Jesus in Mark (and Matthew) is the cry of Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” as He was about to die. This cry has been a source of scandal to not a few Christians who interpret it as a sign of despair on the part of Jesus. But some careful study of the text shows that this interpretation is ill-advised. To be sure, Jesus suffered the pangs of real loneliness on the cross, and this cry gives evidence of it. But Jesus was never deserted by His Father, for it was in accord with the will of the Father that Jesus was dying, and the Father could hardly be said to have deserted His Son if the Son was doing what the Father wanted Him to do (cf. Mark 14,36). Rather, the cry should be understood as an allusion to the opening verse of Psalm 22. Now Psalm 22 has an unusually important role in the death of Jesus on the cross: it is often alluded to in the accounts of the passion in all four gospels (in Mark, cf. the citation of Psalm 22,18 at 15,24 and the allusion to Psalm 22,1-18 at 9,12). It is clear that the evangelists interpreted the death of Jesus according to the framework of Psalm 22. But Psalm 22 does not end on a note of defeat. On the contrary, Psalm 22 ends on a note of triumph, with the lament and entreaty of the innocent victim terminating in thanksgiving for his rescue. The final verses, 27-31, announce the coming of the kingdom of God throughout the world, apparently as a result of the ordeal of the innocent victim. Thus the impossibility of seeing Jesus’ cry as a sign of despair at being deserted by His Father suggests the alternative that Jesus’ cry is a sign of hope and of trust and of confidence if it is seen as an allusion to the whole of Psalm 22. Thus the account of the passion and death of Jesus in Mark is of a whole with the Catholic view that the passion and death of Jesus should be understood in the context of the risen Jesus’ entry into eternal life.

Isaiah 50,4-7 is the Third Song of the Servant, that mysterious figure sketched by Isaiah who is the perfect servant of God, one who re-gathers God’s people through death and glorification by God. Philippians 2,6-11 constitute Paul’s own song, a song which tells of the humble emptying of Jesus of all the outer attributes of His divinity in order to undergo the extreme degradation of the cross. As a result of this obedience God raises Jesus up and gives Him dominion over all creation. Here in abbreviated form one sees how the death of Jesus is ordered to eternal life.


Homily # 4

When I read the Gospel of Passion Sunday each year, I always notice the contrast between the triumphant reception of Jesus into Jerusalem and the screams of the crowd to “crucify him” a few days later. Who were the people who welcomed him and who were those who wanted him dead? The same people! How could this be? One moment they hail Jesus as “King of the Jews” and a little while later they want to torture him to death! How could people be so fickle?

We have all heard of the “crowd mentality” — how people can be swept up in the excitement of the moment — how they’re passions and feelings can rise to a fever pitch so quickly and then fade as quickly. Crowds are like that. People are easily swayed and carried along with the current of the majority. After all, its easy to be part of a crowd — all you have to do is agree with the masses and you are accepted. People accept you. They don’t criticize you. You are “one of them.”

Maybe that helps explain what happened in Jerusalem. People didn’t take a stand on what was right or wrong — they just went along with the crowd. And Jesus suffered and Jesus died — and the crowd went home and forgot all about it.

Has human nature changed in these 2000 years since that fateful week? Afraid not! We are still influenced by the “crowd” — the majority. As a result, the passion of the Lord continues and Jesus Christ suffers and dies again and again. He suffers in the poor and the weak, the falsely accused, the “illegal” alien, the mentally ill and the unborn child in her mother’s womb.

But this time, we are the crowd! Christians who profess Jesus as Lord and welcome him triumphantly each Sunday, go along with the crowd the rest of the week. As long as the leaders of the crowd are delivering good economic news, we go along with them on all the other, “less important” issues. The “crowd” is seldom concerned with justice for the poor (“they’re poor because they are lazy”), or the falsely accused (“kill them all and let God sort them out”), or the alien (“send them back where they came from”), or the unborn (“a woman’s got the right to choose. Besides, many of these babies would be poor and a burden on society”), or facilities for the mentality ill (“not in my neighborhood”).

But in Baptism and Confirmation, every Christian received the grace and courage to speak for Christ – to be his prophet. But the crowd doesn’t like prophets. “Don’t discuss religion or politics” is an American standard and so, for the most part, we just “go along and get along.” Pornography is omnipresent and we say nothing. Racist jokes entertain our coworkers and we giggle along with them. On death row, we remember “an eye for an eye” from the Old Testament and make no mention to Jesus’ teaching of mercy. And that unborn child in the womb — we wish that issue would just go away — it makes us so uncomfortable!

And so the prophets are quiet; comfortable in their homes and enjoying life. And Jesus’ voice is stilled. And the crowd has its way again. And His passion continues.

In the early part of the 13th century, a young man decided to leave the crowd and speak the words of Jesus Christ. Although he was gentle beyond comparison, this man spoke prophetically for Christ and the people heard him. May his words inspire us today and help us to speak and live for Christ.

Prayer of Saint Francis
Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love. Where there is injury, pardon, Lord, and where there’s doubt true faith in you. Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light, and where there’s sadness, ever joy. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving of ourselves that we receive, and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.
O Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled than to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul.

It’s time to change, to find our voice. The voice of Jesus Christ that was placed in us at Baptism and has been all too mute. Let’s pray that God will change us and give us courage that we might leave the crowd and walk with Jesus.


Homily # 5

As usual our readings give us a clear message from God.  On Palm Sunday our readings of the Passion gives us a very comprehensive, all-important message on how we should live our lives.

St. Augustine helps us understand this. He tells us that our lives on earth are pilgrimages -and merely our tool of progressing in our spiritual lives thru trials.

No one knows himself except thru trials or receives a crown except thru a victory.

We only learn thru our mistakes!

When we cry out for help we are never alone as Jesus went before us to show us how to live.

What I think we need to learn and emulate from our Lord’s Passion and death is the manner in which He lived His life and accepted his cross.

We all have crosses and trials-how we accept them is the important point. Lets look at how our Lord carried his cross and see what he is telling us Our Lord took up his cross willingly-Do we?

Our Lord was betrayed by his closest friends-yet he forgave them-Would we?

When Peter denied Jesus three times, our Lord understood Peter’s weakness and kept his faith in him as the head of our Church, Could we ever do this without God’ help?

Our Lord was patient with his three closest friends, Peter John and James when they couldn’t watch with him for 1 hour. What would we have done?

Our Lord did not even defend himself when he was accused of blasphemy-This is even hard to imagine Our Lord accused of being himself!

Our Lord even accepted the terrible insults and physical abuse from the soldiers.

Our Lord even accepted the cruel crucifixion.

When we think about our Lord’s Passion and death just a bit we see it encompasses the entire concept of Lent starting with the ashes the priest or deacon puts on our foreheads for to wear to show the world our IDs as followers of Jesus.

This cross of ashes reminds us that our bodies will return to dust, but also that our souls will live forever.

This cross, of course, also reminds us that as we carry the ashes on our foreheads we are also to carry our crosses as Jesus did in his Passion. As St. Augustine said our crosses are given to us to allow us to grow in our faith and become closer to God. WE NEED OUR CROSSES! We must embrace our crosses-we can do this with God’s help.

Without our crosses we cannot follow Jesus!

Without the Gospel we cannot know Jesus!


Homily # 6

MK 15:1-39

Hosanna!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest…

That’s what the crowds were shouting as they laid their cloaks and palm branches on the road as Jesus rode pass them, on a donkey, on his way to Jerusalem.

Hosanna in the highest!

Was it the same crowd who just a few days later shouted..

Crucify him! Crucify him!

I’ve always regarded this as a very strange event – praise Jesus today and a few days later calling for Jesus’ death.

Or is it so strange?

Consider that here we are gathered in God’s house and we will, while we are gathered here at the end of the Preface, say or sing “Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest”.  We will share in the Eucharist after having extended to one another “a sign of peace”.  We will be dismissed with “God’s peace.”

Then we’ll rush to the parking lot and woe to anyone who gets ahead of us when its not their turn…crucify him, crucify him!

Some will later head for the casino to not just spend “entertainment dollars” but will be caught up in spending what is needed for food, clothing or shelter…crucify him, crucify him!

Others may take to indulging in alcoholic or other drugs this day, harmful activity to themselves or others …crucify him, crucify him!

Many will ignore the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters and indulge in excessive satisfaction of one kind or another …crucify him, crucify him!

It’s time to look inward, to ask ourselves if we are really any different than the people of Jerusalem 2000 years ago.  I believe we are, but we are all sinners, we sometimes fail to look at what we do with an open mind, an open heart.  Yes, we came to sing “Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” – we’re not on the street corner shouting “crucify him, crucify him!” but we do grow lax and easily give in to our desires.

As we look upon the host at Mass this morning, let us resolve to strive to change our lives in what ever way that living, even sub-consciously, shouts crucify him, crucify him!

We will soon, once again, be singing alleluia for we truly are an alleluia people.  Let us therefore resolve to seriously look at how we live our lives, being sure to follow the Lord’s command to love one another as He has loved us …for if we do…crucify him, crucify him, will not be a part of our words and actions…we will be people who joyfully are seen as ones who truly mean it when we sing:  Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!


Homily # 7

Today, Palm Sunday, we begin the most important week of the liturgical year.  After today we begin Holy Week during which we will commemorate, as we do every year, the sorrowful Passion and the terrible death of Our Lord.

As we meditate, we sometimes ask ourselves, how is it that some people don’t believe in Christ?  Has there been any man in history, except for him, who after 20 centuries is still remembered as Our Lord is remembered?  There is no doubt that during the history of humanity there have been many famous people.  But, for the most part, not long after their death they were forgotten.  But Christ’s presence is still with us today so much so that it is as if his Passion was actually happening for the first time this week.  And so year after year we experience his death and also, of course, his glorious Resurrection

At the beginning of this Holy Mass, we commemorated the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem.  Jesus had set out that morning on the road to the Holy City.  When he arrived at the gates of the city with his disciples, he found a crowd of people who had come from various places to continue their pilgrimage in celebration of Passover.  Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem as the Messiah.  His entry into the City of David is, in reality, the beginning of the Passion that he will have to experience.  As he entered the city he was acclaimed with solemn cries similar to those that were used during the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles.  The people cried out, “Hosanna!” and, at the same time, they waved their palm branches while singing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  But the enthusiasm of the crowd would soon die out.  The same people who greeted the Lord with cries of joy when he entered triumphantly into Jerusalem would later cry out “Crucify him!” as they took him out to Mount Calvary to “celebrate” his execution.

My sisters and brothers, we have reached the end of the Lenten Season.  This means that now we are called to accompany Jesus as he goes to Jerusalem.  Confession of our sins, prayer, almsgiving and fasting are the means that we Christians use to help us to meditate more profoundly on the Passion and Death of Our Lord.  There is still time to purify ourselves through penance, to prepare ourselves to properly celebrate the triumphant Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday.

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Word Alive

Palm Sunday: Loyalty in hard times

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

April 3, 2009, 5:33pm

This Sunday is “Domingo de Ramos” or Palm Sunday. It’s the start of Holy Week, in local parlance, “Mahal na Araw.”

It’s called “mahal” (costly) not because the cost of gasoline and some prime commodities has increased (nagmahal) but rather because Jesus by his terrible suffering and death bought (redeemed) us at a very high price. Holy Week means that it is in these most significant days that salvation was achieved.

On Palm Sunday, palms and coconut branches (palaspas) are blessed which are taken home and kept on altars or hanged on doorways. This is done not only to drive away evil spirits or attract prosperity, as some people believe, but should remind us that we are willing to march with Jesus, not only in moments of triumph and glory as in the triumphal entry to Jerusalem but in difficult times like when Jesus was carrying his cross and being crucified.

Peter and other disciples who were closest to the Master’s company basked in his celebrity status as he entered Jerusalem. But where were they on Good Friday when he was being dragged from one court to the other? Except for John, the scared disciples ignominiously disappeared, abandoning their Master.

Peter who stoutly declared at the Last Supper that he would be a “loyalist” even unto death, would rather lie to a girl just to save his skin.

We do have a good number of Peters and apostles who’re loyal and faithful to God — and yes, friends — when the going is smooth. Remember how someone defined “success?” “Success is relative,” he said, “because the more successful you are, the more relatives you have.”

But in times of failure, you’re abandoned by those so-called friends. Hence, the dictum, “Success has many fathers. Defeat is an orphan.” (Political candidates in the coming elections will bear this out).

There’s an apocryphal story about a benevolent pope whose weak heart was faltering, needing a heart transplant. The sad news was announced to the huge crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square and an appeal for a volunteer to donate his heart went out.

Enthusiastically all the men raised their hands in response.

Since there were so many volunteers and only one was needed, the cardinal-secretary announced that the selection would be done by dropping a feather from the high balcony and whomever it fell on would be the privileged donor. The feather was dropped and it slowly glided down.

But as it fluttered over the heads of the men who volunteered, “phew, phew, phew,” each one blew and the feather landed on the ground.

It is easy, indeed, to profess loyalty in words but when some sacrifice is required–as in the above story — it may be the end of loyalty. Similarly, it is easy to praise the Lord when we are feeling fine and healthy or when everything’s going our way.

But when difficult and trying moments come our way, it’s not so easy following Him.

A lady, for instance, whose husband always comes home drunk and becomes unbearable may be the last straw that can break a long, lasting marriage. Likewise, a patient suffering from an incurable sickness may not understand God’s will and may lose faith in desperation.

It is precisely in such moments that we should hold on, find solutions to our problems and thus participate in the passion of Christ.

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 4, 2009, 9:19pm (Manila Bulletin)

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Today, we enter into a solemn period of meditation on the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Palm Sunday, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

The liturgy of today is unique in the sense that two Gospel reading are read in just one Eucharist celebration. The first Gospel is read during the Solemn Commemoration of our Lord’s Entry to Jerusalem at the beginning of the mass. This rite is usually held outside the church, after which, the faithful enter the church in a solemn procession. According to the Gospel, when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the people lay their cloaks along his path and waved olive branches. The people sang “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!’’ This is actually a hymn taken from the book of Psalms (118:25-26).

The Second Gospel reading presents a totally different scenario. The Gospel of Mark narrates the passion and death of Jesus on Mount Calvary. If the people were so happy with Jesus’ coming in the gospel read earlier, here the people who shouted triumphantly when Jesus arrived now cried “Crucify him! Crucify him!’’

Jesus, in spite of all that happened, never changed. He remained faithful to the mission entrusted to Him. He willingly offered his whole life for our salvation. This is a real and tremendous story of a faithful love. It is a story about a God who loves us tenderly no matter what happens.

The road to the Kingdom of God is a narrow one. It tests our determination in following the footsteps of Jesus. Like Jesus, we must remain faithful to God all the time. We must learn to give ourselves fully to the mission entrusted to us.

Today, is also Alay Kapwa Sunday. We are reminded by the Church that like Jesus who offered himself for the salvation of others, we, too, must share what we have for our brothers and sisters in need. We must be in solidarity with the least, the lost, and the last among us.

May Jesus’ example of total self-giving and faithfulness to his mission inspire us all to take up the challenge of being true witnesses of the Kingdom of God today.

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Consenting to die

By FR. ROLANDO V. DE LA ROSA, OP

April 4, 2009, 9:30pm

Our obsession for the spectacular has transformed the crucifixion and death of Jesus into a tourist attraction. In many parts of the country, many penitents are crucified annually. Many of them have even outdone Jesus because they were crucified six or seven times already. And during their bloody ordeal, none of them died.

No reenactment of the crucifixion, however spectacular, can repeat what happened on Calvary. Jesus died. So, if we want a mature understanding of the passion and death of Jesus, we must focus our attention not on the gory spectacle that is duplicated in movies, passion plays or actual crucifixions. When we meditate on the suffering and death of Jesus, we must be led to ask: “In what meaningful way can we say that by dying, Jesus overcame death and made it possible for us to conquer death itself?

One answer given by the Passion narrative in today’s Gospel is this: It is by freely consenting to die that Jesus was able to conquer death and to transform its horrors into hope of eternal life. W.H. Auden beautifully puts it: “Life is the destiny we are bound to deny, until we have consented to die.”

Consenting to die means humbly accepting that death is a possibility we have to confront one day. Jesus died His own death, not ours. The moment we are born, we are sentenced to die. But we want to believe that we have a permanent tenure on earth, that we are immortal. Come to think of it, our greed for money, our ruthless ambitions, and our relentless drive for success, power, and domination – are these not flimsy substitutes to our desire for immortality? We want a permanent life. We do not want to die.

Consenting to die means humbly accepting that sooner or later, we have to experience losing our most precious possessions, or being abandoned by those we love. Rather than being shocked by the pain of loss or abandonment, we have to continually practice the art of giving up things, or develop the habit of not calling anything or anyone as our own. We only lose those things which we consider as ours.

We only live once. No matter how vibrant and exuberant life is, it has a boundary. The boundary is necessary because if our tenure here on earth were infinite, we would procrastinate on important decisions forever. We would just drift in time and postpone even our own happiness, always looking for tomorrow as a better time to be happy.

Consenting to die impels us, like Jesus, to utilize our lifetime to the utmost. It implies a more intense way of living, giving, and loving.

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Moments
We remember…

By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:45:00 04/05/2009

They say that there are three signs that one is growing old. The first sign is that one begins to be forgetful. The second sign is … what was it again?

Let us not become a forgetful people. We grow old, but we must not grow cold.

The Holy week is the great time for remembering. Yes, we remember how much He loved us. We remember especially on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday that we were saved with much pain, and at a great price. Yes, more than anything else, we remember we are loved so much.

We remember what He did on the night before He died. He started washing the feet of His disciples, setting an example for us to do the same. And we remember His last request: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

We remember His words: “Be not afraid. I am with you always.” We take courage in this world so full of trials and persecutions. We are confident that we will be victorious with Him in the end. There is hope for those who believe. Injustice and evil are not forever.

We remember our mortality. We all will die. We are all pilgrims. We are just passing by. We’ll carry nothing with us when we leave this world, except the love we have shared, and the goodness we have shown.

We remember our sinfulness. It was sin that made Him suffer. It is sin that makes us suffer still. It is greed that destroys and divides us. We remember our faults and weaknesses, and in humility, we turn to Him to forgive and heal us. We plead for His mercy, for we all have so often turned our deaf ears to His call to love and to serve.

We remember that He left us a mission to accomplish. We are supposed to spread the Good News far and wide, that there is a God, a God who loves us, and that there is hope. In remembering, let us take time to ask ourselves: What have I done for God in my life? And what am I doing the rest of my life? Am I living a life pleasing to God? Am I making a difference?

We remember in shame that we have focused more on ourselves, and have forgotten the suffering and deprivations around us. We have maximized our greed, and have minimized our help for those in need. We have become masters of rationalization, compromise and procrastination. So snug in our comfort zones, we have snubbed involvement, and have comforted ourselves with the thought that there isn’t much we can do about our present situation, and just let things be, and shun any form of persecution.

We remember that there is an eternity that awaits us. So engrossed in making a living, we have forgotten that we have a life meant for loving. And so we have prepared our life plan, pension plan, retirement plan, and even a memorial life plan, but have not made provisions for our eternal life plan.

Finally, we remember that it is not enough to remember. Our remembering should lead to re-membering, i.e., to become members again, members of the body of Christ. In other words, we remember and renew our love for God and for His people. Remembering is going back in order that we can go forward once more, with zeal, and with feeling!

Philippine SVD Centennial moment: When I was a minor seminarian, I remember that there was an empty coffin in our seminary crypt. This was used whenever prayers for the dead were said. The ritual was called “tumba,” and the song that was sung was the sorrowful “Libera me” [“Deliver me from the depths of hell”]. It was such a scary experience for me, a boy of 12 in formation then, but it has left in me a lasting lesson that, indeed, life is short but death is not the end.

I wish you all a blessed, meaningful and grace-filled Holy Week and a joyous, refreshing Easter. I am one with you in remembering, in renewing and in rejoicing in the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Food for thought: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato)

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to remember, and in remembering, help me to be a member again. Amen.

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Word Alive

FROM ‘HOSANAS’ TO ‘CRUCIFY HIM’

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

March 31, 2012, 11:24am

IN basketball, a player is hailed as a hero when he commits a few errors and makes points during crucial moments. He becomes a “darling of the crowd.”

But the next time, he is treated as a bum or villain when he fumbles, misses some baskets, and does not score as expected.

We can say a similar thing about Jesus although He wasn’t into basketball. During Christ’s public ministry, He cured the sick, fed the hungry, performed miracles for the people.

These material, physical favors aroused the enthusiasm of the crowd to a point that they wanted to make Him their king. Thus when He entered Jerusalem, the premiere city, He was greeted with cheers and jubilant “hosannas.”

But Jesus knew the “royal welcome” would be short-lived. A few days later, the cheers and hosannas  changed to boos and cries of “crucify Him, crucify Him.”

Peter and the other apostles were privileged to be in the company of their Master. They must have basked in His celebrity status as Jesus entered Jerusalem. But on Good Friday when they saw Him being dragged ignominiously from one court to the other, Peter and the other apostles could not bear it. They fled and went into hiding.

Today, we do have a good number of Peters and apostles who’re loyal and faithful to God – and friends – when all is going well. But when some hardship or sacrifice is required, it could be the end of loyalty.

To illustrate, let me relate this amusing parable: Once there was a benevolent pope whose weak heart was faltering, hence needing a heart transplant.

The sad news was announced to the huge crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square and an appeal for a volunteer to donate his heart went out. Enthusiastically, all the men raised their hands in response.

Since there were so many volunteers and only one was needed, the cardinal-secretary announced that the selection would be done by dropping a feather from the high balcony of the pope and whoever it fell on would be the privileged donor. The feather was dropped and it slowly fluttered down.

But as it glided and floated over the heads of the men who volunteered, they said: “Phew, phew, phew,” strongly blowing the feather away! The feather landed on the ground.

In daily life, we have commitments of loyalty not only to the Pope. Commitments to our families, our religious vows, moral values like honesty and justice, our needy brethren, to mention some.

On Palm Sunday, we have palm and coconut branches or palaspas to be blessed and brought home. We often put them on altars and nail them to door and window jambs purportedly to drive away evil spirits and even for good luck. That’s fine.

But more fittingly, let those palaspas remind us that our love and loyalty to Christ and our personal commitments do not wither and fade away, like the enthusiasm of the fickle-minded crowd on that first Palm Sunday.

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Moments

Loud and clear

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:22 am | Sunday, April 1st, 2012

The story is told about a guide at the Niagara Falls who was telling a group of excited, shrieking Filipino tourists that the sound of the waterfall is so loud that even supersonic planes passing by can’t be heard. As the shouting and picture-taking went on, he said: “Now may I request you all to keep quiet so that we can hear loud and clear the Niagara Falls.”

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In today’s Gospel (Mk. 15, 1-39), we hear of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark. The whole Gospel reading for today has a message so loud and clear—Jesus suffered so much and died a painful death out of His great love for each one of us.

* * *

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week. May we all slow down and tone down during these coming days, and really listen to God speaking to us in a very personal way. May we neither belittle nor take for granted the tremendous message of God’s love.

* * *

Today is also April Fool’s Day. By worldly standards, Jesus was a failure and a fool, and in more ways than one, we who follow Him are considered likewise. But in the eyes of faith, there is so much truth, fulfillment, and meaning for those who follow the way of the cross that leads to eternity. May we follow Him more closely, and listen to Him more clearly, especially during this Holy Week.

* * *

We Filipinos call the Holy Week “Semana Santa” to express the sanctity of this week, or “Mahal na Araw” to stress the importance and the worth of these coming days. Let us make holy this week, and let us give due respect and importance to the events of our faith that unfold before us.

* * *

The Ilocanos call the Holy Week “Nangina nga aldaw,” which means “expensive days,” to stress that we were saved at a great price. This also brings out the thought that these are precious days, and as such, should be treasured days to be spent with much respect, care and gratitude. According to Mama who is a native of Pangasinan,  the Holy Week is called “mablin agew” which literally means “heavy days.” Indeed, there is nothing light about an innocent man who suffered so much pain and who died a shameful death that others may live. May we not take the days ahead of us lightly and unworthily.

* * *

The observance of Earth Hour last night (8:30-9:30 p.m.) should set the tone for our observance of the Holy Week. This deliberate turning off of our lights for an hour is good not only for our planet but for our personal well-being as well. In the silence, and in the darkness, we realize our littleness, our dependence on God, and our interdependence on one another. When we slow down and tone down, we, so to speak, level up our true worth as persons, as a nation, and as a human race. When the rush and the noise die down, we realize that our worth is not for what we have or for what we do, but for who we are.

* * *

The Department of Energy came out with an ad for motorists this week. The following checklist may also serve as a good spiritual reminder for all of us on our earthly pilgrimage: Fill up your gas early; check your tires; take only what is essential; know and use alternate routes; roll down your windows for fresh air; do not overspeed; do not let your car idle for more than three minutes; have your car checked regularly; stay alert on the road.

* * *

I have a watch which I really treasure, a watch which also has a compass. Why? Because it tells me not only the time but also the direction. This Holy Week, let us meditate on the time we have or still have left in this world, and the direction where we are headed in this life. We are living on borrowed time, and we have a final destination. Life is short. Death is certain. Eternity is waiting.

* * *

Last Friday at about 10 p.m., our car broke down at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway (SCTEx) about three kilometers from the Floridablanca exit. All we could do was to call for help and wait. Deprived of power, all that I and my companions Ramon Ocan, Chito Bello and Joel Braganza could do was to pray and wait with hope. We all experience moments when we have to pull over, stop and feel the world pass us by. The Holy Week is precisely for stopping, turning off the lights, and just staying in the silence and the darkness and letting the Lord stay with us, and just letting Him embrace us.

* * *

Inviting you to tune in to our Holy Week Special titled “Road Less Travelled,” which will be aired on Channel 2 and TFC on Holy Thursday, April 5, at 1:30 p.m. and on Good Friday, April 6, at 3 p.m. May we learn to take the road less travelled in our journey through life, and go back to humility, simplicity and trust.

opinion.inquirer.net/26009/loud-and-clear

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BANAL O MAHAL? (Reposted) : Reflection for PALM SUNDAY Year B – April 1, 2012

“Mahal na Araw na naman! Bakit nga ba MAHAL at hindi BANAL ang tawag natin? Di ba Holy Week ang tawag natin sa ingles? Bagama’t mas tama ang pagsasalin sa tagalog na “Banal”, ay naangkop din naman, sa aking palagay, ang pagsasalin at paggamit natin sa salitang “Mahal”. Kapag sinabi mong “mahal” maari mong ipakahulugang “something of great value” o “precious”. Para sa ating mga Kristiyano ay MAHAL ang mga araw na itong darating… sapagkat sa mga araw na ito ay pagninilayan natin ang pagtubos sa atin ni Jesus sa pagkakaalipin sa kasalanan sa pamamagitan ng kanyang paghihirap, kamatayan at muling pagkabuhay! “Of great value” sapagkat tinubos tayo ni Jesus sa halagang hindi maaaring tumbasan ng salapi kundi sa pamamagitan ng kanyang katawan at dugo! Ang “MAHAL” din ay nangangahulugang “close to our hearts o dear to us.” Naaangkop din ang pakahulugang ito sapagkat ang mga araw na ito ay nagpapakita sa atin ng walang hangang pag-ibig ng Diyos na nag-alay ng kanyang bugtong na Anak upang tayo ay maligtas. Nakakalungkot sapagkat maraming tao ngayon ang ginagawang “cheap” o mumurahin ang mga araw na ito! Imbis na magbisita Iglesya ay beach resort ang binibisita. Imbis na magpunta ng Simbahan at magdasal ay natutulog ng buong araw . Imbis na magnilay at manalangin ay nanood ng sine. Kapag ganito ang ginagawa natin ang mahal ay ginagawa nating mumurahin! Sana ay maibalik natin ang tunay na pakahulugan ng mga araw na ito. Simula sa Lunes ang tawag natin sa mga araw na ito ay Lunes Santo, Marters Santo, Miyerkules Santo, Huwebes Santo at Biyernes Santo… dapat lang sapagkat “Banal” ang mga araw na ito. Banal sapagkat “mahal” ang pinuhunan ng Diyos… walang iba kundi ang kanyang bugtong na Anak. Ang mga pagbasa ngayon ay nag-aanyaya sa ating magnilay sa pagpapakasakit at pagkamatay ni Jesus. Kaya nga ang tawag din sa pagdiriwang ngayon ay “Passion Sunday” o Linggo ng Pagpapakasakit ng Panginoon. Sa mga araw an ito ay subukan nating maging seryoso sa ating buhay panalangin at paggawa ng mga sakripisyo. Makiisa tayo sa mga espirituwal na gawain ng ating parokya. Huwag nating sayangin ang pagkakataong ibinigay ng Simbahan upang palalimin ang ating buhay kristiyano. Baka matapos ang mga Mahal na Araw na hindi natin ito nabibigyan ng sapat na pagpapahalaga. Sayang! Tandaan natin ang sinabi ni San Pablo na “kung mamatay tayong kasama ni Kristo tayo rin ay makakasama niya sa kanyang muling pagkabuhay.”

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2012/03/banal-o-mahal-reposted-reflection-for.html

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gossip: Are we murdering other’s reputations without any guilt or shame? (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009

The gospel today begins with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. He was hailed as a King and was shown favor by the people. However, in less than 1 week, many of the same people who just hailed and held him up as their Savior, would turn on Him and condemn him to death.

Are the people of 2000 years ago, much different than many of us today?

How quickly we build people up, speak praises of them, in many ways become followers, or at least become their “so-called friends,” and then just as quickly, turn on them and tear them down. Probably the most destructive action of our time, and the most prominent among our culture today is “Gossip:” The murdering of one’s reputation and character.

Many people partake daily in gossip and don’t even realize the significance and sinfulness of their actions. They talk about others, distort facts, share private, personal, and often embarrassing information with others, all without a second thought and without any shame or guilt. In a matter of minutes they have destroyed a person’s reputation, often without checking out any of the facts, often spreading lies and mistruths.

Even speaking the truth about another person is often gossip, when doing so serves no particular purpose other than creating scandal.

Once the negative words have been spoken, the damage is done, it is irrevocable, and it can never be taken back. It is like the flowing waters of a flood, destroying everything it touches along the way, and even when the waters retract, the damage is left behind.

As Christians, we should have a mentality of always building up the body of Christ.

So why do so many of us have difficulty showing God’s love and mercy to others, Judging instead of forgiving, Holding grudges instead of forgetting, Identifying their faults instead of looking for their good qualities, And tearing them down in other’s eyes instead of always propping them up.

Who would have ever thought that the crowd, which welcomed Jesus with such enthusiasm during his entry into jeruslem, would turn against him so quickly? Their welcome and shouts of praise for Jesus were only superficial. Their support for him was only skin-deep.

During the Lenten season, through our acts of sacrifice and charity, we have been attempting to discover in a deeper way, who Jesus Christ is for us. In the gospel proclaimed today, we have followed Jesus from the praises of Palm Sunday, through His passion, His suffering, and ultimately His death.

For us Catholics, this week, Holy Week, continues the story of what we are, and who we are as a people. This week for Catholics is the most Holy Week of the year. Today is Palm Sunday; we celebrate that “First Joy” of the Lenten Season. We celebrate our Lord’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, with the ensuing greatest tragedy and sorrow of the year. In a few days we will arrive at Holy Thursday – The most complex and profound of all religious observances, with exception only to Easter.

Holy Thursday celebrates, as instituted by Christ himself, that of the Eucharist and of the priesthood. His last supper with the disciples, and the celebration of Passover, He is the Self-offered Passover victim, and every ordained priest to this day, presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way. The last supper was also Christ’s farewell to his disciples, some of whom would betray, desert, and deny him, all before the sun would rise again. Following Holy Thursday is Good Friday, when the entire church fixes her gaze on the cross at Calvary. Each member of the church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the adoration of the cross, in the chanting of the “Reproaches,” in the proclamation of the passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the death of our Lord.

Then…. The Easter Vigil.

The night-vigil signifies Christ’s passage from the dead to the living by the liturgy that begins in darkness, representing Sin and Death, and is enlightened by the fire and the Easter candle, the light of Christ. The church, the mystical Body of Christ and the community of believers, is lead from spiritual darkness to the light of his truth.

We rejoice in Christ’s bodily resurrection, from the darkness of the tomb: we pray for our passage from death into eternal life, from sin into grace, from the weariness and infirmity of old age to the freshness and vigor of youth, from the anguish of the cross to peace and unity with God, and from this sinful world unto the Father in heaven.

We are now beginning Holy Week, a time for deep and sincere reflection on who we are, on our current relationship with Christ, and a time to embrace Christ’s passion. Everything we are as Catholics rest upon this week. The week that includes Christ’s Passion, His Death, and ultimately His resurrection. It is a time for us to embrace our own passion, our own sorrows, our own troubles, our own crosses, and to die to the sinfulness of our lives.

The sinfulness that all to often is rooted in Greed, Pride, Lust, and Envy.

If not done already this Lent, It is for Confession, a time to be freed from the shackles of sin.

It is a time to unite our lives with Christ. It is a time to be resurrected with Christ. To be spiritually resurrected anew, awakened to His joy, His freedom, His power, and His Love.

His life is to become our life…

His life is to become our life…….

deaconpathomily.blogspot.com/search/label/Palm%20Sunday%20-%20Entering%20Holy%20Week

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PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION: BETRAYAL, ABANDONMENT, AND DEATH

Mk 14:1-15:47

THE CELEBRATION OF the Palm Sunday appears to be paradoxical. In the beginning, people have welcomed Jesus as their king, but in the end, the crucified him. Thus, at first, there is a glory for Jesus, but later, there came a great tragedy. The gospel serves as a synopsis of the whole celebration of the Holy Week. We remember the great event, the great story of our salvation in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel journeys us back to the peak or crowning moments of Jesus’ life. It is the summary and the core of why was Jesus being sent by the Father to this world. The ultimate meaning of his coming into this world is being clearly seen in this great paschal event.

Let us try to pick up some significant things in the passion narrative. I can think of three sad things: a) betrayal; b) abandonment; and c) death.

First, the gospel presents a story of betrayal. We heard of Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, who betrayed Jesus. Likewise, we there is Peter, the trusted disciple, who did not join Jesus in praying at Gethsemane, and who denied Him in the presence of the high priest’s maids.

Second, the gospel presents a story of abandonment. There were people, and disciples as well, who abandoned Jesus. When they saw Jesus suffering and hanging on the Cros, they simply left him. Furthermore, his loud cry, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani,” demonstrates a “seeming’ abandonment by the Father.

Third, the gospel ends in crucifixion and death of Jesus. For some people around him, the death of Jesus appears as a total failure. But, for believers, the death of Jesus is rather seen as the fulfillment of what he lived for. It is the highest moment of God’s salvific plan for us. It is God’s greatest expression of his love for us.

The stories of betrayal, abandonment and death are also our own stories.

On the one hand, we have experienced these in our relationship with others. Often we are victims of betrayal, abandonment, and death. But in some occasions, we were also the “victimizers” to others. We can hear stories of wives being betrayed by husbands, and husbands betrayed by their wives. Infidelities seem to be rampant these days. It is unfortunate that migration has contributed to this occurrence. We can also hear stories of people betrayed and abandoned by their siblings. We can also hear stories of friends being betrayed and killed by their friends. Thus, stories of betrayal, abandonment, and death are real stories. These are stories that some people would either love or hate to talk about. These are stories which are in need of a process of forgiveness; the kind of forgiveness that Jesus gave to his tormentors.

On the other hand, these stories are also true in our relationship with God. Modernism, secularism, consumerism, atheism…. all these contribute to the betrayal, abandonment, and death of God in our midst. How have we betrayed Him? Believing in Him and yet doing non-Christian practices is a betrayal. Professing the faith, but do not live it out is a betrayal. The absence of the “sense of sin” is a betrayal to God who always asks us to repent and undergo conversion.

Have we abandoned God? Yes, we have abandoned Him! Secularism is an obvious form of abandonment of God. If we no longer see the meaning and importance of Sunday worship is an index of abandonment of God. We have also killed God in a way. People who experience a certain power brought about by their “own” resources would say that they no longer need God in their lives. They say that they can live all by themselves. Thus, they have actually killed God and He is now dead.

The Holy Week is a moment of grace for us. This is a moment of reflecting upon the great love of God for us through his suffering and death on the cross. Love is a two-way relationship. God expects us to respond to this love. But if our response is one of betrayal, abandonment, and killing God, then, we ask for his forgiveness and mercy.

msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=20075

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ANG MGA MAHAL NA ARAW: Reflection for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Year B – March 29, 2015 – YEAR OF THE POOR

Sinisimulan natin ngayon ang SEMANA SANTA o ang MGA MAHAL NA ARAW.   Bakit nga ba MAHAL at hindi BANAL ang tawag natin? Di ba Holy Week ang tawag natin sa ingles? Bagama’t mas tama ang pagsasalin sa tagalog na “Banal”, ay naangkop din naman, sa aking palagay, ang pagsasalin at paggamit natin sa salitang “Mahal”. Kapag sinabi mong “mahal” maari mong ipakahulugang“something of great value” o “precious”. Para sa ating mga Kristiyano ay MAHAL ang mga araw na itong darating… sapagkat sa mga araw na ito ay pagninilayan natin ang pagtubos sa atin ni Jesus sa pagkakaalipin sa kasalanan sa pamamagitan ng kanyang paghihirap, kamatayan at muling pagkabuhay! “Of great value” sapagkat tinubos tayo ni Jesus sa halagang hindi maaaring tumbasan ng salapi kundi sa pamamagitan ng kanyang katawan at dugo!  Ang “MAHAL” din ay nangangahulugang “close to our hearts o dear to us.” Naaangkop din ang pakahulugang ito sapagkat ang mga araw na ito ay nagpapakita sa atin ng walang hangang pag-ibig ng Diyos na nag-alay ng kanyang bugtong na Anak upang tayo ay maligtas.Nakakalungkot sapagkat maraming tao ngayon ang ginagawang “cheap” o mumurahin ang mga araw na ito! Imbis na magbisita Iglesya ay beach resort ang binibisita. Imbis na magpunta ng Simbahan at magdasal ay natutulog ng buong araw . Imbis na magnilay at manalangin ay nanood ng sine. Kapag ganito ang ginagawa natin ang mahal ay ginagawa nating mumurahin! Sana ay maibalik natin ang tunay na pakahulugan ng mga araw na ito. Simula sa Lunes ang tawag natin sa mga araw na ito ay Lunes Santo, Marters Santo, Miyerkules Santo, Huwebes Santo at Biyernes Santo... dapat lang sapagkat “Banal” ang mga araw na ito. Banal sapagkat “mahal” ang pinuhunan ng Diyos… walang iba kundi ang kanyang bugtong na Anak. Ang mga pagbasa ngayon ay nag-aanyaya sa ating magnilay sa pagpapakasakit at pagkamatay ni Jesus. Kaya nga ang tawag din sa pagdiriwang ngayon ay “Passion Sunday” o Linggo ng Pagpapakasakit ng Panginoon. Sa mga araw an ito ay subukan nating maging seryoso sa ating buhay panalangin at paggawa ng mga sakripisyo. Makiisa tayo sa mga espirituwal na gawain ng ating parokya. Huwag nating sayangin ang pagkakataong ibinigay ng Simbahan upang palalimin ang ating buhay kristiyano. Baka matapos ang mga Mahal na Araw na hindi natin ito nabibigyan ng sapat na pagpapahalaga. Sayang! Tandaan natin ang sinabi ni San Pablo na “kung mamatay tayong kasama ni Kristo tayo rin ay makakasama niya sa kanyang muling pagkabuhay.” Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2015/03/ang-mga-mahal-na-araw-reflection-for.html

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From ‘Hosanas’ to ‘Crucify him’

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 27, 2015

In basketball, a player is hailed as a hero when he commits a few errors and makes points during crucial moments. He becomes a “darling of the crowd.”

But the next time, he is treated as a villain when he fumbles, misses some baskets, and does not score as expected.

* * *

We can say a similar thing about Jesus, although He wasn’t into basketball. During Christ’s public ministry, He cured the sick, fed the hungry, performed miracles for the people.

These material, physical favors aroused the enthusiasm of the crowd to a point that they wanted to make Him their king. Thus when He entered Jerusalem, the premiere city, He was greeted with cheers and jubilant “hosannas.”

* * *

But Jesus knew the “royal welcome” would be short-lived. A few days after, the cheers and hosannas would be changed to boos and cries of “Crucify him, crucify him.”

Peter and the other apostles were privileged to be in the company of their master.

* * *

They must have basked in his celebrity status as Jesus entered Jerusalem. But on Good Friday, when they saw Him being dragged ignominiously from one court to the other, Peter and the other apostles could not bear it. They fled and went into hiding.

* * *

Today we do have a good number of Peters and apostles who’re loyal and faithful to God–and friends–when all is going well. But when some hardship or sacrifice is required, it could be the end of loyalty.

To illustrate, let me relate this amusing parable: Once there was a benevolent pope whose weak heart was faltering, hence needing a heart transplant.

* * *

The sad news was announced to the huge crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square and an appeal for a volunteer to donate his heart went out. Enthusiastically, all the men raised their hands in response.

* * *

Since there were so many volunteers and only one was needed, the cardinal-secretary announced that the selection would be done by dropping a feather from the high balcony of the pope and whoever it fell on would be the privileged donor.

* * *

The feather was dropped and it slowly fluttered down. But as it glided and floated over the heads of the men who volunteered, they said: “phew, phew, phew,” blowing the feather away! The feather landed on the ground.

* * *

In daily life, we have commitments of loyalty not only to the Pope but also commitments to our families, our religious vows, moral values, like honesty and justice, our needy brethren, to mention some.

* * *

On Palm Sunday, we have palm and coconut branches or palaspas to be blessed and brought home. We often put them on altars and nail them on doors and window jambs purportedly to drive away evil spirits and even for good luck. That’s fine.

* * *

But more meaningfully, let those palaspas remind us that our love and loyalty to Christ and our personal commitments do not wither and fade away, just like the enthusiasm of the fickle-minded crowd on that first Palm Sunday.

mb.com.ph/from-hosanas-to-crucify-him-2/

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Make Holy Week really holy

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 28, 2015

A friend of mine, Atty. Braulio Tansinsin, shares his insight on “Semana Santa.” He writes: “Almost three (3) decades ago during Holy Week, we came across a procession on Libertad Street, Pasay City, where drug addicts, snatchers, thieves and robbers, and petty criminals joined.

* * *

“We joked that the priests and bishops are at fault because out of the fifty-two (52) weeks in a year, only one is a HOLY WEEK and the other weeks are not called holy.

“Maybe it is now timely to change Holy Week to ‘Holiest Week’ or ‘Santisima Semana’ so that many Christians and the criminals will not be misled in believing that even Christmas Season is not holy.”

* * *

With the feast of Palm Sunday, we’ve reached the most solemn part of the Church calendar–Holy Week. In Pilipino, “Mahal na Araw.”

By the way, it’s called “Mahal” not because the cost of gasoline and some prime commodities rose again but rather because Jesus by his terrible suffering and death redeemed us at a very high price.

* * *

Unfortunately for many this Christ-centered commemoration is being eroded by mundane activities.

For instance, many view Holy Week more as a much-awaited holiday for secular activities, like reviewing tax records to beat the tax deadline or motoring to Baguio or Tagaytay or to some beach resort to beat the summer heat.

* * *

Others indulge in some unholy recreations, like gambling or, worse, getting a kick on dangerous drugs!

While rest and recreation are part of the Holy Week break, let us not forget to devote time for prayer, reflections, and penitential acts. One way of doing this is to participate in the Church’s liturgical services or join a Lenten retreat or recollection in your own parish.

* * *

SELF-FLAGELLATION, CRUCIFIXIONS? Talking of penitential acts, self-flagellation, carrying of the cross, and crucifixion are frowned upon by Church authorities.

The fact that they are done in public, drawing the attention of people and yes, tourists, make these acts appear more for display.

* * *

In some places where crucifixions are done, spectators are charged a fee…a “talent fee”?

Some better forms of penance are fasting, works of charity, or getting reconciled with someone you’re not on talking terms with.

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. Singing the traditional “Pabasa” is an act of penance for the singers who patiently chant day and night non-stop.

But it’s also a “penitensya” for people, hearing singers who are disintonado (out-of-tune)! Anyway, God bless our Pabasa singers.

* * *

A man who always had himself crucified on Holy Week was told by a doctor that the spikes may cause tetanus infection. He advised him to get anti-tetanus injection. The man replied: “Doc, I don’t want to. I can’t stand the pain of injections.” (But he can stand being nailed!).

mb.com.ph/make-holy-week-really-holy/

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Timely lessons of Palm Sunday

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 29, 2015

Today, Palm Sunday, ushers in the celebration of Holy Week. There is an amusing story which relates that when Jesus made the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, he rode on a lowly donkey.

As the Jews waved palm branches, spread their cloaks on the road and shouted “Hosanna,” the donkey thought the crowd’s cheers and wild adulation were for him. So he kept nodding his head in sweet approval!

We may laugh at that donkey but aren’t we much the same at times? When we have talents and achievements, including titles and positions, pride gets into our head. We think we owe it all to ourselves, totally forgetful of the generous giver: God.

Holy Week is called “Mahal na Araw,” in local parlance, which literally means a “costly day” because God saved us at a very costly price. His Son, Jesus Christ, suffered ignominiously, died, and resurrected in order to redeem us. St. John Chrysostom says, “Redemption was completed by God during these days.”

DISLOYAL DISCIPLES

Holy Week begins with the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. Peter and the apostles were euphoric as they basked in the royal welcome accorded their Master amidst shouts of “Hosannah, Son of David!” But shortly afterwards, when Jesus was dragged from one court to another, helpless and pathetic, Peter who had declared at the Last Supper that he would never abandon Him, denied Him thrice and all the others, except John, fled in disgrace.

How often do we deny and abandon Christ in the way we live. Government officials, who enrich themselves through scams and briberies, do it. So does a husband who cheats on his wife and vice versa.

JUDAS’ BETRAYAL

Then there’s the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas. Judas’ tragic treachery stemmed from the expectation that Christ would become the political Messiah and, being a materialistic man, he realized how much wealth he could amass under His leadership. But when he found that Jesus would be just the opposite—a “Suffering Servant”—he betrayed Him for 30 sordid pieces of silver.

Don’t we have a streak of Judas in us at times? When a friend is successful, we lionize him; but the moment he is down and broke, we drop him like a hot potato. “Success is relative,” somebody quipped. “The more successful you are, the more relatives you have.”

ROOT OF EVIL

As with Judas, isn’t money the root of evil, betrayals and vengeance?

The elders, chief priests and scribes—the ruling class—who manipulated the people so that a few days before they had shouted “Hosannah,” but on Good Friday turned out shouting “Crucify him, crucify him!”

Don’t we have such people among politicians and charlatans who deceive the masses by making empty promises; who talk big but are short on deeds?

PASSIVE SPECTATORS OR ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS?

Instead of being passive spectators of the great drama of Christ’s Passion, the greater challenge is to be active participants of the paschal events– the suffering, death, and resurrection– of Jesus Christ.

All of us have our own Calvary, our passion and death. But like Christ, we too will know and feel the beauty, the joy of the Resurrection, if we but suffer and die with Him.

mb.com.ph/timely-lessons-of-palm-sunday/

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Moments

Fill in the blanks

Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD

@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:37 AM | Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Fill in the blanks:

__________ is greater than God.

__________ is more evil than the devil.

If you eat __________, you will die.

Answer? Nothing.

* * *

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week. Let this week remind us of our nothingness, and make us realize that without God, we are nothing. All our virtues and so-called achievements, in which we take so much pride, mean nothing at all if we forget that all these are made possible by the grace of our loving, compassionate and merciful God.

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 15, 1-39), we hear how the Son of God experienced nothingness, even helplessness, in the hands of human beings who thought they were greater and holier than God Himself. Are we guilty of playing God, or thinking of ourselves greater “gods” than the other people around us? This Holy Week let us all take the road of humility: “Have mercy on me, O God, I am a sinner…”

* * *

Nothing and no one is greater than God. When we take ourselves and our “achievements” too seriously, we are playing God. When we take our problems too seriously, and worry about so many things and about other people in our life, we are also playing God. Please remember that God is greater than all our achievements, problems, sins and failures.

* * *

The Holy Week is a good time for us to literally fill in the blanks in our lives. The first step is to accept the emptiness within us which only God can fill. Let us take time to invite Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit so we can see the vanity, the emptiness, the frailty of the lives we are living, without Him. It is time to move beyond being “selfie,” or “groupie,” and be “Godie.”

* * *

Let this Holy Week remind us of our mortality. We all will go, sooner or later. What legacy will we leave behind? What do we tell God when He asks us what we have done or have not done? Let us fill in the blanks now so that we will not fail in the final exam.

* * *

Speaking of blanks, let us make sure that we are not using blank bullets and firing on blank targets as we go through life. What a big letdown it will be if we realize in the end that we spent all our energy, ammunition and provisions on useless, selfish, fleeting pursuits and endeavors.

* * *

Let the Holy Week remind us of the reality of the Cross in our lives. There is no perfect happiness, and there are no perfect relationships in this world. There will always be problems, irritants, conflicts and even crises as we go on. There will always be, so to speak, blanks in our lives. No matter how hard we try, there will never be a full, straight line as we journey on. That only happens when we are gone, and the journey is done.

* * *

Let the Holy Week remind us, too, that death and the Cross lead to the resurrection. There is hope, there is meaning, there is purpose in everything that is happening in our lives. Let us be confident that there is a final destination, a final resolution, a final conclusion. It is precisely the belief in the resurrection that empowers us to keep hoping, keep believing, and keep loving, no matter what, in the here and now.

* * *

Speaking of hope, Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD, and Cesar Liza, XVD, are going through much physical suffering and pain because of their illness. Let us pray for them. But let us also draw inspiration from them for their courage, and for their offering of their suffering and pain.

* * *

For those who are going through any trial, sickness, or persecution, let us take courage from Jesus who says, “I am troubled now,” but goes on to say, “Father, glorify Your name.” What a beautiful transition, what a liberating passage from suffering to offering! We can offer whatever trial, sickness, or persecution to the Father who assures us that He is with us through it all. Let us not magnify our sufferings. Let us magnify the Lord in our sufferings!

* * *

Brother Stephen (Felino) Nuguid, SVD, has gone home to the Father at the age of 83. This simple and dedicated SVD religious brother from Capas, Tarlac, and Sta. Rita, Pampanga, was not exceptionally talented, but he showed us the power and the beauty of a life anchored on prayer and hard work. Friendly and low-key, and always holding the rosary—that’s how he filled in the blanks in his journey.

* * *

Inviting you to join the recollection of the Lord’s Flock Charismatic Community on Holy Thursday (April 2), 9 a.m.-12 noon at the Lord’s Flock Heritage Workshop and Spiritual Formation Center, Catanduanes St. corner Del Monte Ave., Quezon City. For details, please call 376-5780 or log on to lordsflock_manila@yahoo.com.

* * *

Someone texted me how she reconciled with her dear friend in high school, with whom she had a deep misunderstanding that made them estranged for years. Finally, she swallowed her pride, reached out to her friend, and filled in the blanks. Now she is all smiles, and told me: “It did not make me a lesser person when I made the first move, and it really set me free and made me feel good deep inside.” Yes, fill in the blanks of your life with prayer, humility, kindness, compassion and mercy.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me fill in the blanks now so that I will not fail in the final exam. Amen.

opinion.inquirer.net/83705/fill-in-the-blanks

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“What is Palm Sunday?”

Garry Garrido

Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, exactly one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1–11). As Jesus entered the holy city, He neared the culmination of a long journey toward Golgotha. He had come to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and now was the time—this was the place—to secure that salvation. Palm Sunday marked the start of what is often called “Passion Week,” the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Palm Sunday was the “beginning of the end” of Jesus’ work on earth.

Palm Sunday began with Jesus and His disciples traveling over the Mount of Olives. The Lord sent two disciples ahead into the village of Bethphage to find an animal to ride. They found the unbroken colt of a donkey, just as Jesus had said they would (Luke 19:29–30). When they untied the colt, the owners began to question them. The disciples responded with the answer Jesus had provided: “The Lord needs it” (Luke 19:31–34). Amazingly, the owners were satisfied with that answer and let the disciples go. “They brought [the donkey] to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it” (Luke 19:35).

As Jesus ascended toward Jerusalem, a large multitude gathered around Him. This crowd understood that Jesus was the Messiah; what they did not understand was that it wasn’t time to set up the kingdom yet—although Jesus had tried to tell them so (Luke 19:11–12). The crowd’s actions along the road give rise to the name “Palm Sunday”: “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road” (Matthew 21:8). In strewing their cloaks on the road, the people were giving Jesus the royal treatment—King Jehu was given similar honor at his coronation (2 Kings 9:13). John records the detail that the branches they cut were from palm trees (John 12:13).

On that first Palm Sunday, the people also honored Jesus verbally: “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ / ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ / ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’” (Matthew 21:9). In their praise of Jesus, the Jewish crowds were quoting Psalm 118:25–26, an acknowledged prophecy of the Christ. The allusion to a Messianic psalm drew resentment from the religious leaders present: “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’” (Luke 19:39). However, Jesus saw no need to rebuke those who told the truth. He replied, “I tell you . . . if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Some 450 to 500 years prior to Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah had prophesied the event we now call Palm Sunday: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! / Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! / See, your king comes to you, / righteous and victorious, / lowly and riding on a donkey, / on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). The prophecy was fulfilled in every particular, and it was indeed a time of rejoicing, as Jerusalem welcomed their King. Unfortunately, the celebration was not to last. The crowds looked for a Messiah who would rescue them politically and free them nationally, but Jesus had come to save them spiritually. First things first, and mankind’s primary need is spiritual, not political, cultural, or national salvation.

Even as the coatless multitudes waved the palm branches and shouted for joy, they missed the true reason for Jesus’ presence. They could neither see nor understand the cross. That’s why, “as [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies . . . will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41–47). It is a tragic thing to see the Savior but not recognize Him for who He is. The crowds who were crying out “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday were crying out “Crucify Him!” five days later (Matthew 27:22–23).

There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10–11). The worship will be real then. Also, John records a scene in heaven that features the eternal celebration of the risen Lord: “There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9, emphasis added). These palm-bearing saints will shout, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (verse 10), and who can measure sum of their joy?

facebook.com/leygarrido/posts/10153155014723917:0

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Today’s Readings:  Cycle B

Back to: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year B)

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