March 29, 2015

Passion Sun.

March 29, 2015:  Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

26 connections with today's readings and celebration,
but watch out for 1-2 tricks.  Find 'em?
Legend below


Pope Francis homily
At the heart of this celebration are the words “He humbled himself,” Jesus’ humiliation.  God’s way and the way of Christians is humility.  It disturbs us; we'll never get used to a humble God!  God humbles himself to walk with us and put up with our infidelity.  How humiliating for the Lord to hear the grumbling and complaints against Moses but ultimately against him!
This week we'll take this path of Jesus’ humiliation; only then will it be “holy” for us too!  We'll feel the leaders' contempt.  We'll be at the betrayal of Judas.  We'll see Jesus carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged around, condemned, beaten, and insulted.  We'll hear Peter deny him.  We'll hear the crowd's shouts.  We'll see him mocked and crowned with thorns.  We'll hear the jeering of those who scoff at his being King and Son of God.  This is God’s way, Jesus' way, the way of humility.  And there can be no humility without humiliation.
The Son of God took on the “form of a slave.”  Humility means service, making room for God by stripping oneself, “emptying oneself,” the greatest humiliation of all.  The world proposes the way of vanity, opposed to the way of Christ.  The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus, but he rejected it.  With him, we too can overcome this temptation, also helped by the example of so many who sacrifice themselves daily to serve others....  Think of the humiliation endured by all who encounter discrimination and pay a price.  Think of those persecuted because they're Christians, the martyrs of our time, who, refusing to deny Jesus, endured insult and injury with dignity.  Set out with determination along this same path, with love for our Lord and Savior.  Love will guide us and give us strength.  For where he is, we too shall be.
East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily (concluded, from yesterday
The Spirit, a chance for the West:  The East is seen to have a more optimistic and positive view of the human person and salvation, the West a more pessimistic one.  The golden rule in East-West dialogue is "both/and," not “either/or.”  The East's idea of human grandeur and dignity as the image of God highlighted the possibility of the Incarnation; the West's focus on sin and human misery highlighted the necessity of the Incarnation.  Augustine, Anselm, and Luther insisted on the gravity of sin to reach the grandeur of Christ's remedy; they accentuated “the abundance of sin” to exalt “the superabundance of grace.”  Jesus' work is the key to everything.  I believe the shortcoming in Western soteriology is that we reduce grace to its negative dimension as remedy for sin; even the jubilant Easter cry—“O happy fault that earned so glorious a Redeemer!”—is from the negative perspective.
For more than a century, grace has run through Western Churches in the charismatic renewal; it's a current of grace to be diffused through the Church, then disappear as a distinct phenomenon.  We can't ignore it or consider it marginal; it's reached hundreds of millions of believers including tens of millions of Catholics; Paul VI called it  “a chance for the Church and the world.”  Yves Congar spoke of today's awakening of the Spirit:  "The charismatic stream has spread like a brushfire.  It's far more than a fad.  It resembles past revivals: spiritual action which changes people’s lives and brings the old Church freshness and new possibilities."  It's a chance for the Christian Church to restore to salvation the positive content summed up in the gift of the Spirit.  The primary goal of Christian life is shown to be “the acquisition of the Spirit.” 
The Catholic charismatic movement is a fruit of Vatican II, which led to extraordinary flourishing in Church movements sensitive to the Spirit's action.  How many lay faithful have experienced the Spirit's amazing power, rediscovered the faith, prayer, and God's word, and been moved to generous service!  It gives an outward picture of Christian life:  joyous, contagious Christianity without gloomy pessimism.  Sin is not trivialized because one of the first effects of the Spirit's coming is to “convince the world of sin.”  It's not a matter of belonging to a movement but of opening oneself to the Spirit's action.  Don't remain outside the current of grace flowing through Christianity but see it as God’s initiative and a chance for the Church, not a threat or infiltration.
One thing can ruin this chance:  Scripture affirms the primacy of the Spirit's sanctifying work over its charismatic activity (1 Cor 12-13).  Don't let an emphasis on visible charisms overshadow efforts for authentic life “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” based on the conformity to Christ, putting works of the flesh to death and seeking the fruits of the Spirit.  Thanks to the East for having cultivated and defended a beautiful, inspiring ideal of Christian life. May the Eastern and Western saints help us realize the same communion of love they now enjoy.
  • Mk 11:1-10 (palm procession gospel)  Jesus sent two disciples:  “Bring the colt you find to me.”  They did, and he sat on it.  Many spread their cloaks and cried “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
  • Jn 12:12-16  The crowd went out to meet Jesus with palm branches, crying “Hosanna!  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”...
    Jesus emptied himself...
  • Is 50:4-7  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from spitting.  God is my help; I know I won't be put to shame.
  • Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24  "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"  All mock me:  “He relied on the Lord; let him deliver him, if he loves him.”  Evildoers surround and pierce me; they cast lots for my garments.  Help me, Lord; I'll proclaim your name.
  • Phil 2:6-11  Christ Jesus didn't grasp at equality with God but emptied himself, coming in human likeness.  He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death.  God exalted him, so that at Jesus' name every knee should bend and every tongue confess that he is Lord.
  • Mk 14:1—15:47  The chief priests were seeking a way to put Jesus to death.  In Bethany a woman poured an jar of perfumed oil on Jesus, and some were indignant.  Jesus:  “She's done good.  You'll always have the poor, but not me....”  Judas made a deal to hand him over.  Jesus told the disciples where to prepare the Passover, and they went and prepared it.  Jesus:  “One of you will betray me; woe to him.”  They denied it.  He took bread and a cup, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them:  “Take it; this is my body and blood....”  Jesus at the Mount of Olives:  “You'll have your faith shaken, but I'll go before you to Galilee.” (to Peter:)  “Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me three times.” (at Gethsemane:)  My soul is sorrowful even to death.  Keep watch.”  He fell and prayed that if possible the hour might pass by him, then returned to find them asleep.  (to Peter:)  Couldn't you keep watch one hour?  Watch and pray....”  He prayed again, then returned to find them asleep.  Again:  The hour has come!  The Son is to be handed over.”  Judas arrived with a crowd; they arrested him, and the disciples fled.  The chief priests tried to get testimony to put Jesus to death but found none.  High priest:  “Are you the Christ?” / “I am....” / You heard the blasphemy!”  They condemned him.  Peter denied him three times then wept.  The Sanhedrin bound Jesus and led him to Pilate:  “Are you the king of the Jews?” /  “You say so.” / (to crowd:)  “Shall I release the king of the Jews?” / (incited crowd:) Barabbas / “What about [Jesus]?” / “Crucify him.”  He handed him over.  Soldiers clothed him in purple, put a crown of thorns on him, mocked him, and led him out, pressing Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross.  They gave Jesus myrrh-drugged wine, but he didn't take it.  They crucified him and cast lots for his clothes.  Inscription:  “The King of the Jews.”   Crucified with him:  two revolutionaries.  Passers-by reviled him:  “Come down and save yourself!”  Chief priests:  “He saved others but can't save himself.  Let him come down that we may see and believe.”  3pm:  My God, why have you forsaken me?”  He expired.  Centurion:  “Truly he was the Son of God!”  Women looked on:   Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and of Joses, and others.  Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body; Pilate gave it to him.  Joseph took him down, laid him in a tomb, and rolled a stone against its entrance; Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses watched.
    • Creighton:  Today we begin to walk with Jesus in his sorrow, fear, and suffering.  Compassion = "suffer with."  It’s hard to stay with suffering; we can focus on ourselves, but we're called to open to vulnerability.  The more I'm with Jesus in his suffering, the more I feel his love.  He suffers with me and asks me to enter into others' suffering.  Spread the word of Jesus and his love, remain vulnerable, be a witness for him, and feel his deep love.
    • One Bread One Body:  "Uninterrupted Sanctus":  The Church hopes our "Holy, holy, holy" and "Hosanna" will last forever.  Jesus' admirers changed their tune from "Hosanna!" to "Crucify him!"  When Jesus told the apostles they'd turn from him, they asserted they'd rather die for him, but then they deserted him.  Will I crucify Jesus by sin or praise him by repentance?
      The Agony in the Garden/ El Greco
    •  Does the King of glory find welcome in your heart?  Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion awaited him.  The people were ready to hail him as king but didn't know his entry into Jerusalem was a fulfillment of Zechariah's Messianic prophecy.  He came riding on a colt, a sign of peace; he entered in humility, offering victory and peace through the cross and resurrection.  Augustine re Jesus' entry:  "The master of humility is Christ....  He doesn't lose his divinity when he teaches humility.... What was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity?  Christ was not the king of Israel to equip an army to vanquish an enemy.  He was the king in that he rules minds, gives counsel, and leads those who believe, hope, and love.  It's condescension, not advancement, for the Son of God, the Word, to become king; it indicates pity, not power."  (Tractates on John 51, paraphrased)
    Thanks to guest dressers Lori and Jamie!
    Dress legend
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  "They pierced my hands and feet" (psalm); they laid hands on Jesus (gospel); 'Palm' Sunday (today's celebration)
    • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "I can count all my bones" (psalm)
    • NEW 'Gambling' tie:  "For my vesture they cast lots." (psalm) [I'll have to save my 'dogs' tie, for "many dogs surround me" (also from psalm), for another day.]
    • Crucifix pin:  Jesus became obedient to the point of ... death on a cross (2nd reading)
    • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  At Jesus' name every knee shall bend (2nd reading); Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane; we kneel when we read Jesus gave up his spirit (gospel)
    • 'Wheat' and 'grapes' pins, 'silverware' tie bar:  Last Supper:  he took bread... and a cup, saying...; they gave him myrrh-drugged wine (gospel) [Ouch; I can't find my 'grapes' pin.  "Holy Tony, look around; it's lost and gotta be found..."]
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  “This is my blood..." (gospel)
    • 'Rooster' pin:  "Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me three times" (gospel)
    • 'Coin' button:  They paid Judas thirty pieces of silver (gospel)
    • 'Clock' tie bar:  “My appointed time draws near”; "Peter, you couldn't keep watch with me one hour?" Darkness came from noon to 3pm (gospel)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed" (gospel)
    • 'Sword' tie pin:  Have you come out with swords...? (gospel)
    • '?' tie pin:  Pilate first questions Jesus, then the crowd (gospel)
    • 'Roses' pin:  they wove a crown out of thorns (gospel)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  he rolled a stone against the tomb entrance (gospel)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  They weaved him a crown of thorns (gospel)
    • 'Wooden' suspenders:  wood of the cross (gospel)
    • Red in tie and pins:  today's liturgical color
    • Purple shirt:  Lenten season, but not today's color (that's the trick)

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