APRIL 5, 2020 PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD (Lec. 37)
Procession with the Palms
1) Matthew 21:1-11 (Lec. 38)
1) Isaiah 50:4-7
2) Philippians 2:6-11
3) Matthew 26:14–27:66 or 27:11-54
FOCUS: Today is one of those unique days in the Church calendar when we hear two Gospel passages very different in tone and sentiment, and certainly in content. We begin the liturgy with a presentation of an enthusiastic and exuberant crowd as Jesus enters Jerusalem, the capital of David’s kingdom. Along the way he is regaled and hailed as Son of David; the prophet, from Nazareth; and the one who comes in the name of the Lord. He gets the red-carpet treatment: cloaks and cut branches from thetrees strewn on the dusty road; cries of Hosanna piercing the air; the crowd swelling, their voices crying out in a mixture of scriptural quotations and messianic aspirations.
Then,as the Mass progresses – and somewhat all of a sudden – the mood changes: Our Gospel announces that the king has been degraded to the level of a common criminal. The victory confetti is replaced by whips, spitting, and choking dust. Jesus the prophet and Davidic Savior is now Jesus the criminal, the blasphemer, the rebel. The donkey that once carried him in triumph has disappeared, and on his own back he now carries the heavy and awkward cross. Cries of celebration have turned to calls for death; shouts of joy have given way to the sound of the lash; the parade has become an execution march.
It is enough to make our spiritual head spin.Forin this yearly remembrance of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we are well-reminded of the nature of our own temptations and sins.We can often find ourselves with Jesus for the easy part of the journey, but then vanish like the wind when the pressure rises and the threats of death fill the air. We examine how deep is our own loyalty to Christ in a world where faith is so easily mocked and the name of Christ so easily denigrated.We think about the times when we want to skip ahead to the empty tomb without first walking to Golgotha. As Jesus tells us, the human spirit can be very willing, but the flesh very weak. But there can be no resurrection without the cross; there can be no new life without first dying to oneself. There is no Easter without Good Friday.
Let us not be like the crowd: Fickle, inconsistent, swaying with the latest wind of popularity and fame, afraid to stand up for justice and truth – for the innocent one. But as we journey this Holy Week, let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Let us take note of his patience, his total and unyielding dedication to doing the will of the Father fully and completely. Then let us take up our cross and follow him, so that having shared in his cross, we might share in his resurrection.