Saturday, April 16, 2011
PALM SUNDAY - A
PALM SUNDAY - A
Mt 21:1-11 / Is 50:4-7 / Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 / Phil
2:6-11 / Mt 26:14—27:66 or 27:11-54
The Lord Yahweh has taught me so I speak as his disciple and I know
how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning he wakes me up to
hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. I
have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered my back to those
who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I
shield my face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired,
for the Lord Yahweh comes to my help. So, like a flint I set my face,
knowing that I will not be disgraced.
Though being divine in nature, Christ Jesus did not claim in fact
equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a
servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man.
He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross.
That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all
names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven,
on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ
Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus stood before the governor, who asked him, "Are you the King of
the Jews?" Jesus answered, "You say so." The chief priests and the
elders of the people accused him, but he made no answer. Pilate said
to him, "Do you hear all the charges they bring against you?" At
Passover, it was customary for the governor to release any prisoner
the people asked for. Now there was a well-known prisoner called
Barabbas. When the people had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Whom do
you want me to set free: Barabbas, or Jesus called the Messiah?" for
he realized that Jesus had been handed over to him out of envy. As
Pilate was sit ting in court, his wife sent him this message, "Have
nothing to do with that holy man. Because of him, I had a dream last
night that disturbed me greatly." But the chief priests and the elders
of the people stirred up the crowds, to ask for the release of
Barabbas and the death of Jesus. When the governor asked them again,
"Which of the two do you want me to set free?" they answered,
"Barabbas!" Pilate said to them, "And what shall I do with Jesus
called the Messiah?" All answered, "Crucify him!" Pilate realized that
he was getting nowhere, and that there could be a riot. He then asked
for water, and washed his hands before the people, saying, "I am not
responsible for his blood. It is your doing." And all the people
answered, "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children. "Then
Pilate set Barabbas free, but had Jesus scourged, and handed him over
to be crucified. The Roman soldiers took Jesus into the palace of the
governor and the whole troop gathered around him. They stripped him
and dressed him in a purple military cloak. Then, twisting a crown of
thorns, they forced it onto his head, and placed a reed in his right
hand. When they had finished mocking him, they pulled off the purple
cloak and dressed him in his own clothes again, and led him out to be
crucified. On the way they met a man from Cyrene called Simon, and
forced him to carry the cross of Jesus. When they reached the place
called Golgotha, they offered him wine mixed with gall. Jesus tasted
it but would not drink it. There they crucified him, and divided his
clothes among themselves. The statement of his offense was displayed
above his head, and it read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."
People passing by shook their heads and insulted him, saying, "Aha!
You who destroy the Temple and in three days rebuild it, save yourself
— if you are God's Son — and come down from the cross!" In the same
way the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the Law mocked
him. They said, "The man who saved others cannot save himself. Let the
King of Israel now come down from his cross and we will believe in
him. Even the robbers who were crucified with him insulted him. From
midday, darkness fell over the whole land until mid-afternoon. At
about three o'clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi,
lamma sabbacthani?" which means: My God, my God, why have you forsaken
me? Then Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up his spirit.
Just then the curtain of the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top
to bottom, the earth quaked, rocks were split. The captain and the
soldiers who guarded Jesus were greatly terrified, when they saw the
earthquake and all that had happened, and said, "Truly, this was God's
Holy Week, the most sacred time in the Church year, begins today with
the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The enthusiastic throng
of people gathered in Jerusalem for the religious festival of
Tabernacles were in a joyous mood as they spread their cloaks on the
road, waved palm branches in the air and openly proclaimed Jesus as
their earthly King. The powerful feeling of those moments resounded in
the exuberant chants: "Hosanna to the Son of David." Jesus, however,
had no illusions about this fickle crowd because as the week enfolds,
the palm branches will shape themselves into a cross and the hosannas
will become the jeers of a treacherous mob calling for his death. The
mob will shout: "Crucify him, crucify him. Let him be crucified. His
blood be upon us and upon our children."
The passion presents the ultimate humbling of Jesus involving far more
than the physical cruelty of the crucifixion. There was terror and
agony of mind to be endured and this pain was so intense that, in the
Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus' sweat became drops of blood long before
the nails were driven into his hands and feet on the cross. The
loneliness and isolation which Jesus felt when his closest friends
deserted him on the hill of Calvary was nothing compared to the
experience of being abandoned by the Father: "My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me?"
It would be a mistake to comfort ourselves with the thought that it
was the Roman soldiers and a group of Jews who killed Jesus. The
people involved in Jesus' death are also all of us. We are more than
mere spectators at Jesus' crucifixion for we are also guilty. The
rejections and the crucifix ion continue daily today. We must never
forget that each one of us has a hand in Jesus' death when we hurt
others through gossip and slander and ride rough-shod over them for
our own selfish purposes. Jesus is crucified every time a human being
is degraded, treated unjustly and deprived of freedom. This final week
of Lent is a great opportunity to celebrate the death and resurrection
of Jesus in a way that will change our lives.
The simple truth of the Christian experience is that sin has
disfigured our lives and has made a mess of our lives by leading us to
conduct our affairs with hearts hardened against God. The cross is
lifted up as a sign of Jesus taking the sins of humanity upon himself
in order to soften our hearts, by revealing the depth of his perfect
love for us. The fact that Jesus thought that we are worth all that
pain and suffering should reduce us to silence. We must never forget
that Jesus died on the cross so that we might have new life. We should
try in our own simple way to imitate him.
The palms remind us of three truths. First, they remind us of human
fickleness, how quickly today's hero can become tomorrow's villain. If
we live our lives dependent on human popularity, we are building our
lives on the wind. Second, the palms place us within the Passion
account. The characters of the Passion are not creatures from outer
space. They are us. Through our reading of the Passion, we can
identify ourselves with Peter's denial, with Judas' betrayal, with the
disciples' running away in fear, with Pilate's cowardice or with the
crowd's mindless frenzy. We all have a place in the Passion story.
Third, the palms remind us of Jesus' love for us. Despite what all
these people did to him, Jesus died for all of them and for us. His
love, his truth, his forgiveness, his grace are the foundations on
which we can rely. Despite our failures, in Jesus we can have a new
and strong life. The palms remind us of human fickleness both then and
now, of our own sins and the failures and of Jesus' redeeming and
victorious love which alone can make us whole and strong.
As we begin Holy Week, let us reflect on the Passion, Death and
Resurrection of Jesus, the three inseparable parts of the Paschal
Mystery. Let us pray for the grace of conversion, the grace to turn
away from our sins, so that we, too, will triumph over them as Jesus
did. The Church celebrates the liturgies of this Holy Week not only to
remind us of sin but to assure each one of us of our own resurrection.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Marge, Ben, Eugene R, Maria, Mrs T, Ed's mom, Frank & Gene
- Amy Trice, Jim White
… for the personal intentions of:
- Josheil Dapo
- Mary Wong
… for the eternal repose of the soul of Emmalynda V. Bernales.
Eternal rest grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her.
May she and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Lydia Sy Ragos
- Birthday: Sunny Tan
- Birthday: Fr. Ben Sim SJ
- Birthday: Babette
- In Memoriam (+): Dr. Carmelita B. Cuyugan
… 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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