Saturday, April 08, 2006
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
April 9, 2006
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion - B
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how
to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after
morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have
not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to
those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and
spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have
set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality
with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking
the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in
appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of
death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the
name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the
scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound
Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned
him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say
so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate
questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse
you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one
prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The
crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was
accustomed. Pilate answered, "Do you want me to release to you the king
of the Jews?" For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief
priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to
them in reply, "Then what do you want me to do with the man you call
the king of the Jews?" They shouted again, "Crucify him." Pilate said
to them, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder,
"Crucify him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released
Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to
be crucified. The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the
praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed him in purple
and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute
him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and kept striking his head with a
reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when
they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him
in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him. They pressed into
service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the
country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. They
brought him to the place of Golgotha --which is translated Place of the
Skull--. They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for
them to see what each should take. It was nine o'clock in the morning
when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him
read, "The King of the Jews." With him they crucified two
revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by
reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would
destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by
coming down from the cross." Likewise the chief priests, with the
scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, "He saved others; he
cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now
from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified
with him also kept abusing him. At noon darkness came over the whole
land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out
in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some of the bystanders who
heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah." One of them ran, soaked a
sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down." Jesus gave a loud
cry and breathed his last. The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two
from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he
breathed his last he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
Today, Palm / Passion Sunday, we enter with growing intensity into the
whole paschal mystery. Not palms or passion; it is both. Not triumph or
tragedy; but triumph in tragedy. Not a dying or a rising Christ, but a
dying-rising Christ. The paschal mystery is one mystery: life in and
Passion Sunday, then, is not a prelude to the Resurrection. The tragedy
of Calvary is not a promise of triumph at Easter. The cross is itself a
triumph in Christ's death, there is life. That is why the Church puts
palms and thorns together. The King is triumphant not simply on Easter.
He is triumphant on Calvary. Dying-rising is one complex reality, the
mystery of Christ. Today we rejoice, for in his dying the world comes
But how does liturgy shape our Christian existence? Palm / Passion
Sunday is an excellent example. Here we uncover the core of Christian
living. For to us, to live is to share in the dying-rising of Christ.
Not in the two stages: dying here, rising hereafter. No, as with Jesus,
so with us, our dying-rising is a double inseparable reality. In our
dying is our rising - now.
It began with our baptism. On this St. Paul is emphatic. "Do you know
that all of us who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into
his death? We were buried therefore by baptism into death, so that as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too
might walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:3-4) Newness of life - now, not
after death but now. At this moment the life of Christ flows through
you like another bloodstream. That is why you can cry out with St.
Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live
by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
(Gal.2: 19-20) In Christ you are a new creation.
But your dying-rising is not simply a matter of Sacraments. You are
indeed raised with Christ, but not fully risen. With St. Paul, "we who
have the fruits of the Spirit groan inside ourselves as we wait for ...
the redemption of our bodies." (Rom. 7:22-23) And so we must constantly
reproduce the journey of Jesus to rise to new life only by dying,
Dying to what? Basically, dying to sin and to self. Dying to sin is
never ended. For dying to sin is not merely turning from evil. Dying to
sin is turning to Christ. And turning to Christ is a constant
conversion. If sin is rejection, dying to sin is openness: openness to
God's presence poured out on you through the warm breeze that caresses
your skin, the beauty of nature that inspires your spirit, eyes that
meet yours in friendship and love, the awesome presence of the Holy One
in the tabernacle in the church, and in the shelter of your hearts.
It's a wonderfully positive way of dying to sin. Turn to the Lord all
around you. Turn to the Lord within you.
More difficult perhaps is dying to self. Here we are not talking about
sin. We are talking about that very human problem, how do you let go of
where you've been? How do you let go of yesterday, of the past that is
so much part of you? Not forget it but let go of it. Whether it's
turning 21, 40, or 65, whether it's losing your health or your hair,
your looks or your energy, your money or your memory, a person you love
or a possession you prize; whether it's being fired or a change of
jobs; whether it's as fleeting as applause or as lasting as grace - you
have to move on.
Wherever you've been, you dare not dwell there. Essential to your
Christian journey is the journey of Christ. And so, to let go of
yesterday is to die a little. But only by dying will you rise to new
life. Only by letting go of yesterday will you open yourself to
tomorrow, to being surprised by the Spirit.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you want to celebrate both
liturgy and life these coming eight days, here are three suggestions:
1) Don't divorce passion and palms, Good Friday and Easter. They are
inseparable. In Christ's death is life.
2) Act today, and all week like risen Christians. You have already
risen with Christ. Then rejoice today!
3) Let go of your security blanket. Let all your dying be a new living.
Not without pain, but let the pain be filled with Easter promise. There
is no dying that does not bear within it the seeds of fresh life. Let
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Virginia S. Cruz. Eternal
rest grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she
and all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
- for the personal intentions of Charles and Cheryl C.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Andrea Dominique Yu
- Birthday: Elsie Llama
- In Memoriam (+): Visitacion de la Pena
- In Memoriam (+): Ordonio de la Pena
- In Memoriam (+): Jerry Vista
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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