April 14, 2019

Passion Sun.

April 14, 2019:  Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

How many connections with today can you find?
(There are over 20; legend below.)

For procession gospel
For gospel
For Psalm 22
For 2nd reading
Pope Francis

Homily:  Jesus in his entry into Jerusalem shows us his way of humility in the face of triumphalism.  He shows us how to face difficulty and the temptation by preserving peace that's neither detachment nor impassivity, but confident abandonment to the Father and his will, which bestows life and mercy.  He shows us this abandonment by spurning the temptation to do things not in complete obedience to the Father.

In his entrance into Jerusalem, the evil one had the card of triumphalism up his sleeve. but the Lord held fast to the way of humility.  Triumphalism tries to reach the goal by shortcuts and false compromises; it lives off gestures and words not forged in the crucible of the cross.  Jesus destroyed it by his Passion.  One form of it is spiritual worldliness, the greatest danger, the most treacherous temptation threatening the Church (Henri De Lubac).

Jesus knows that true triumph involves making room for God, and the only way is self-emptying, stripping yourself.  You can't negotiate with the cross; you either embrace or reject it.  By his self-abasement, Jesus opened up the path of faith and preceded us on it.  Jesus was profoundly silent throughout his Passion.  He overcame the temptation to answer back, to act like a superstar.  In darkness and tribulation, find the courage to have meek silence, not full of anger.  When God comes forth to fight, let him take over.  We'll be safe beneath Mary's mantle.

AngelusToday is also diocesan World Youth Day.  Live out the fruits of the Synod, in the form of the Christ is alive, in which you can find fruitful ideas for your life and path of growth in faith and service to your brothers and sisters.

Receive this rosary made of olive wood beads from the Holy Land for Panama WYD and for today.  Pray the Rosary for peace, especially peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East.


  • Lk 19:28-40 (palm procession gospel) As he drew near to Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples:  “Go into the village; you'll find a tethered colt.  Bring it here.  If anyone asks why, say the Master needs it.  So they went off and found it as he said.  The colt owners asked“Why are you untying the colt?”  They answered, “The Master needs it.”  They brought it to Jesus and helped him mount it.  His disciples praised God for the deeds they'd seen:  “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Some Pharisees asked him to rebuke them.  “If they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”
  • 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.
  • Creighton:  The recounting of Jesus’ triumphant entry doesn’t give us long to reflect on the people's admiration of Jesus; we're soon taken to the rest of Holy Week:  Last Supper, trials, betrayals, torture, and death.  Likely some of the palm-wavers were in the crowd a days later yelling “Crucify him!”  We may wonder how they could have been so fickle, so easily swayed, but then remember how we turn our backs to the good when we don’t have all the facts, perhaps even when we do.
  • Feel the palm-wavers' enthusiasm for Jesus and his message, reflect on his love and works, and pray that the joy from worshipping him will sustain us through dark times.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Forgiving and giving all":  Jesus prayed always, even while dying on the cross:  "Father, forgive them."  "Into Your hands I commend my spirit."  To give ourselves to the Lord, we must forgive.  This week we're encouraged to forgive.  Jesus forgave us for participating in his crucifixion through our sin.  In thanksgiving for being forgiven, we should forgive those who have sinned against us.  Jesus died forgiving his enemies. May we live forgiving ours, giving our lives to him as an unblemished sacrifice.
  • Passionist:  Holy Week begins today, once called Palm Sunday, now, more appropriately, Passion Sunday.  We bless the palms, imagine the people waving their palm branches and shouting hosanna to the one who heals, restores life, turns water to wine, and multiplies loaves and fishes....  But the excitement won't last long.  Will they support him when accused, carrying the cross?   Our entrance into Holy Week is into the Jesus' suffering and death.  We're invited to know Jesus more intimately in his Passion.  Will we stand with him cursed, ridiculed, blasphemed, defiled, and carry our own crosses?...
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord":  Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing what awaited him, while the people of Jerusalem hailed him as Messiah King!  Jesus' entry was fulfilled of the Messianic prophecy, "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion.... Your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious, and riding on a colt...."  The colt was a sign of peace.  Jesus enters in meekness and humility, as King offering victory and peace, to be secured in the cross and resurrection.  "The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death... of 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?  For Christ was not the king of Israel to exact a tax or vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel, ruling minds, giving counsel, leading those who believe, hope, and love into the kingdom.  It is a condescension, not an advancement, for the Son of God, the Word through whom all was made, to become king of Israel; an indication of pity, not an increase in power" (Augustine, Tractates on John 51.3-4).   Psalm 24 echoes this triumphal procession:  "Lift up your heads, O gates... that the King of glory may come in."  Jesus came to bring us God's kingdom; he offers peace, joy, and life....
Dress legend
  • 'Palm tree' tie bar:  'Palm' Sunday of the Lord's Passion (today's celebration)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "They pierced my hands and feet" (psalm); they laid hands on Jesus (gospel); 'Palm' Sunday
  • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "I can count all my bones" (psalm)
  • 'Gambling' tie:  "For my vesture they cast lots." (psalm) [I'm saving my 'dogs' tie, for "many dogs surround me" (also psalm), for another day.]
  • 'Cross' necklace:  Jesus became obedient to the point of... death on a cross (2nd reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin, 'silverware' tie bar:  Last Supper:  he took bread... and a cup, saying...; they gave him myrrh-drugged wine (Passion)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  “This is my blood..." (Passion)
  • 'Rooster' pin:  "Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me three times" (Passion)
  • 'Money bag' tie pin:  They paid Judas thirty pieces of silver (Passion)
  • 'Clock' pin:  “My appointed time draws near”; "Peter, you couldn't keep watch with me one hour?" Darkness came from noon to 3pm (Passion)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed" (Passion)
  • 'Sword' tie bar:  Have you come out with swords...? (Passion)
  • '?' tie pin:  Pilate first questions Jesus, then the crowd (Passion)
  • 'Roses' pin:  they wove a crown out of thorns (Passion)
  • 'Stone' pin:  he rolled a stone against the tomb entrance (Passion)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  They weaved him a crown of thorns (Passion)
  • 'Wood' tie pin:  wood of the cross (Passion)
  • Red shirt:  today's liturgical color
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season, though not today's color

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