April 9, 2017

Passion Sun.

April 9, 2017:  Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion


For procession gospel
For Psalm 22
    For 2nd reading / kenosis hymn
    For Passion gospel
    For future celebrations
      • Don't look unless you're planning Easter Vigil:  Easter Vigil bundle:  my settings of all ten psalms and canticles
    Today’s celebration is bittersweet, at once joyful and sorrowful:  we celebrate the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem as his disciples acclaim him king, while we proclaim his Passion.  We experience a bit of what Jesus must have felt as he rejoiced with his friends and wept over Jerusalem.  The procession gospel recounts the disciples' enthusiasm, and we can imagine the excitement of the children and young people.  Jesus sees in this welcome a force willed by God; to the Pharisees he responds, “If they were silent, the stones would shout.”  Yet he's no impostor or purveyor of illusions;  he's a Messiah who comes as servant, servant of God and of us, and goes to his passion, suffering humanity's pain.
    So as we acclaim our King, think of the sufferings he endured, the slanders, insults, snares, betrayals, unjust judgment, blows, crown of thorns, way of the cross, and crucifixion.  He told his disciples, “To become my follower, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.”   Jesus never promised honor and success.  He warned this would be his path, that victory would be achieved through the cross.  It holds for us too.  Ask for the grace to follow Jesus, in deeds, and patience to look at Jesus and carry our cross daily, not refuse it or set it aside.
    This Jesus who accepts the crowd's hosannas knows they'll soon cry, “Crucify him!”  He's present in those who suffer today:  slave labor, family tragedy, disease, war, terrorism, being cheated, violated, discarded….  Jesus is in each of them and asks to be looked in the eye, acknowledged, and loved.  It's the same Jesus who entered Jerusalem, then was nailed to the cross and died between two criminals, our Lord humble King of justice, mercy and peace.
    • Mt 21:1-11  Jesus:  “Go into the village, and bring me an ass and a colt.”  The disciples brought them, and he sat on them.  The crowd cried out:  “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  When he entered Jerusalem, the crowds said,  “This is Jesus the prophet.”
    • 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.
    • Mt 26:14-27:66:  Judas agreed to hand Jesus over to the chief priests for 30 silver pieces.  At the Passover supper Jesus says one will betray him; the disciples deny it.  He took bread and a cup, said the blessing, and gave them to the disciples:  “Take, eat and drink; this is my body and blood, to be given up and shed for you.”  At the Mount of Olives:  “You'll have your faith in me shaken.”  Peter / Jesus:  “Not mine.” / “You'll deny me.” / “No!”
      Gethsemane:  “Sit here while I go pray.... Keep watch.”  “Father, let this pass—but as you will.”  “Peter, you couldn't keep watch with me for one hour?  Watch and pray.”  “The hour is at hand for the Son of Man to be handed over; my betrayer is at hand.”  Judas kissed Jesus, and they arrested Jesus.  Jesus:  “You didn't arrest me when I taught daily in the temple area...”  The disciples fled, Jesus was taken to high priest Caiaphas.
      The Sanhedrin found two false witnesses, Jesus said “You'll see the Son of Man seated at God's right hand, and Caiaphas declared it blasphemy; they said Jesus should die, then struck and mocked him.  Peter denied Jesus, a cock crowed, and Peter wept.  Judas regretted his betrayal, returned the money, and hanged himself.  The chief priests led Jesus to governor Pilate.  Pilate questioned Jesus, but he didn't answer.  Pilate offered to release a prisoner, and the elders-incited crowd chose Barabbas then insisted that Jesus be crucified.  Pilate released Barabbas and handed Jesus over.

      His soldiers stripped Jesus, mocked him with a cloak, crown of thorns, and taunts, struck him, and led him off.  Simon the Cyrene carried the cross.  After they crucified him, they cast lots for his garments, passers-by and leaders reviled him, and darkness came.  Jesus cried, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” then gave up his spirit.  The sanctuary veil was torn, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and saints' bodies were raised.  The guards said, “This was the Son of God!”  Women who had followed Jesus looked on.
      At evening, disciple Joseph came from Arimathea and asked Pilate for Jesus' body, Pilate had it handed over; Joseph laid it in a new tomb, rolled a stone across the entrance, and left, while the Marys stayed.  The chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate to secure the grave, he consented, and they sealed the tomb and set the guard.
        • Creighton:  How can we understand Jesus' cry of abandonment?  “By his Incarnation the Son of God united himself... with every man....  He thought with a human mind,... acted by human choice, and loved with a human heart....” (Gaudium et spes 22).  On the cross he tasted human suffering on every level – physical, psychological and spiritual.  He underwent the most painful and shameful death devised by Roman authorities and was crucified between two known criminals.   He was alone, rejected by religious authorities, fellow citizens, disciples, and friends; only his mother and the two Marys were at the cross.  And he seemed a failure at the mission to preach the Good News of God's Kingdom; his apostles didn't even not understand.  On the cross he felt abandoned, even by his Father.  [Some temper this view by pointing out that the psalm ends on an upbeat note, Ps 22:20-32.]  We seek the grace of being united to Jesus as we cope with suffering in our world and our own lives.  We may feel abandoned by God, but as the Father was with Jesus transforming him through suffering, so is Jesus with us transforming us.  We move toward maturity in our faith as we embrace our crosses and unite them with Jesus’.
        • One Bread, One Body:  "A no-know?"  Peter was privileged to know Jesus in ways not granted to the other disciples.  He knew Jesus as Messiah, Teacher, Deliverer, Raiser of the dead, and Master of the crowds, but now he sees him bound, captive, mocked, and silent before his accusers.  He says, "I don't even know the man."  Though they're words of cowardice and denial, there's truth to them:  he didn't know Jesus, the Suffering Servant, standing before him.  Paul saw and conversed with Jesus and knew him in a way few will ever experience, but he said, "I wish to know Christ," realizing he couldn't completely know Christ on his own.  Today's readings challenge us to take a new look at Jesus. Humbly ask him, "Do I really know You?"  He'll look at you, and you'll never be the same.
        • The Agony in the Garden/ El Greco
        • Passionist:  "Welcome to Jerusalem":  Today's Mass focuses on Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the Passion according to Matthew.  In the Holy Week liturgies we let the mysteries of the Passion seep into our lives.  The entry into Jerusalem shows us Jesus with those who have gathered along on this Passover journey.  It doesn’t seem planned or organized; maybe word spread and people hurried over?  Lent for some is a straight path; others may have been turned around and passed through darkness, silence, and cacophony.  Today we come together in the mayhem with Jesus and those with him.  We know he's with us and have seen wonderful things.  May the Spirit guide us and keep us with him.
        • DailyScripture.net:  "Blessed the king who comes in the Lord's name":   Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing what awaited him, but the people there hail him as king!  His entry on a colt fulfilled Zechariah's Messianic prophecy.  The colt was a sign of peace. The victory and peace he brought would come in the cross and resurrection.  "Christ humbled himself and became obedient even to... the cross.  He doesn't lose his divinity when he teaches us humility...  What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity?  Christ wasn't king of Israel to exact a tax or equip an army; he rules minds, gives counsel, and leads those who believe, hope, and love into the kingdom.  It's a condescension, not an advancement, for the Son of God... to become king of Israel.  It's an indication of pity, not an increase in power" (Augustine,  Tractates on John 51)...
        Dress legend
        • 'Gambling' tie:  "For my vesture they cast lots" (psalm); they divided his garments by casting lots (gospel)
        • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "I can count all my bones" (psalm)
        • 'Coin' tie bar:  They paid Judas thirty pieces of silver; Judas returned the pieces (gospel)
        • 'Clock' pin:  “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'll strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed" (gospel)
        • '?' tie pin:  "Who's this?" (procession gospel); Pilate questions Jesus, then the crowd (gospel)
        • 'Roses' pin:  They wove a crown out of thorns (gospel)
        • 'Rock' tie pin:  Rocks were split; Joseph of Arimathea rolled a stone across the tomb entrance (gospel)
        • 'Hands' pin:  They pierced my hands and feet (psalm); "Palm" Sunday (today's celebration :-); Judas looked for an opportunity to hand him over; "My betrayer is at hand"; "he who dipped his hand into the dish with me will betray me"; they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him; Pilate knew they handed him over out of envy; Pilate washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, Pilate handed him over to be crucified; Pilate had Jesus' body handed over to Joseph of Arimathea (gospel)
        • 'Feet' pin:  They pierced my hands and feet (psalm)
        • 'Wood' suspenders:  Wood of the cross (gospel)
        • 'Crown' tie bar (forgot; see here):  "Your king comes to you" (procession gospel); they put a crown of thorns on his head (gospel)
        • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Jesus reclined at table with the Twelve (gospel)
        • 'Eyeball' pin:  Jesus returned and found them asleep; they couldn't keep their eyes open (gospel)
        • 'Angel' pin:  "Don't you think I could call on my Father and he'd provide me legions of angels?"  (gospel)
        • 'Crucifix' tie pin:  Jesus became obedient unto death on a cross (2nd reading); "let him be crucified"; "come down from the cross" (gospel)
        • 'Blood drop' pin:  “This is my blood..."; "I've sinned in betraying innocent blood"; blood money; "I'm innocent of this man's blood" (gospel)
        • 'Rooster' pin:  "Before the cock crows, you'll deny me three times"; "immediately a cock crowed" (gospel)
        • 'Sword' tie pin:  A large crowd with swords accompanied Judas; "all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (gospel)
        • 'Seal' tie pin:  They secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone (gospel)
        • Red shirt:  Today's liturgical color; scarlet military cloak (gospel)

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