MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU ABANDONED ME!
begins the highpoint of our liturgical season as we walk with Jesus on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to his crucifixion and as we Christians know, his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday
. On this Palm Sunday
, we begin our liturgy with the Gospel at the Procession (Matthew 21:1-11)
as we process into the Church with trumpets joyously proclaiming "Hosanna to the Son of David", just as they did that Palm Sunday
two thousand years ago. Only this is a different kind of King, coming in peace, humbly riding on the back of a donkey.
When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The master has need of them.' Then he will send them at once." This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Say to daughter Zion, "Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."
As we continue the Mass with our first reading (Isaiah 50:4-7)
, we recall Isaiah's prophesy of the suffering servant, persecuted for his righteousness, and yet he does not flinch.
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 shame.
Our Epistle reading (Philippians 2:6-11)
continues to emphasize the humility of Jesus, coming in human form, obedient to the Father to the point of death, even death on a cross.
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.
Our Gospel reading is the Passion of Our Lord according to Matthew (25:14-27:66)
. Matthew's account highlights Jesus' role in fulfilling God's covenant promise to the Israelites so long ago. The Gospel reading is too lengthily to present here, but please, click HERE
to read the Gospel account of the Passion of Our Lord.
May we not pass by this opportunity to reflect deeply on this mystery of God's salvation gift to us, his beloved children. May we emulate the humility, the obedience and the love of Jesus.
- Click HERE to read and reflect on all of the scripture readings for April 6
- Click HERE to learn more about the tradition of Palm Sunday