Saturday, April 04, 2009
PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD'S PASSION
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
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!"
Passion Sunday, like all of Lent, gets its liturgical meaning from
Easter. Easter is what we call the paschal mystery; an inseparable
twosome, a duality: the dying-rising of Jesus. Today and this whole
week, we enter with growing intensity into the whole paschal mystery.
Not palms or passion; but 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 through death.
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 alive.
Passion/Palm Sunday is an excellent example of our Christian
existence. 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. In our dying is our rising — now.
It began with our baptism. Newness of life — now, not after death but
now. At that moment the life of Christ flows through us like another
bloodstream. But our dying-rising is not simply a matter of
Sacraments. We are indeed raised with Christ, but not fully risen. And
so we must constantly reproduce the journey of Jesus to rise to new
life only by dying, continually dying. Basically, dying to sin and to
self. Dying to sin is never ending. 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 us through the warm breeze, the beauty of
nature that inspires our spirit, friends that meet us in friendship
and love, the awesome presence of the Holy One in the tabernacle in
the church, and in the shelter of our hearts. It's a wonder fully
positive way of dying to sin. Turn to the Lord all around us and
More difficult perhaps is dying to self. Here we are not talking about
sin. We are talking about that very human problem, letting go. How do
we let go of yesterday, of the past that is so much part of us? Not
forget it but let go of it; moving on.
Wherever we've been, we dare not dwell there. Essential to our
Christian journey is the journey of Christ. And so, to let go of
yesterday is to die a little. But only by dying will we rise to new
life. Only by letting go of yesterday will we open ourselves to
tomorrow, and be surprised by the Spirit.
If we 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. We have already
risen with Christ. Then rejoice… today!
3. Let go of our security blanket. Let all our 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
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the healing and strength of:
- Sophia Gonzalez
- Ester Marcelo
… for the safety of Johnson Cuiting
… for the personal intentions of
- Arnold Abarquez
- Lina Magcamit
… for the guidance of the Gurango and Magcamit families
… Birthday: Lito
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Ses Sesbreno
- Birthday: Kryslynn Desiree S. Galapon
- Birthday: Vicente S. Chengliong
- Wedding Anniversary: Dennis & Nung Tan
… for the healing and peace of all families
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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