Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
March 28 A..D. 2010
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Luke 22:14ó23:56 or 23:1-49
A reflection on today's Scripture:
The waving of palm branches and the cries of "Hosanna to the King!" usher in the holiest week of the year.
The full drama begins with the crowd's fickle acclaim of Jesus as King for a day. It is a foreshadowing of the blasphemous mockery the soldiers will hurl at our thorn-crowned Savior a few days later. And yet, for a few hours we can raise our voices joyfully with the crowd, linking the honor given by the crowd, especially by the children, with His ultimate victory beyond the grave. We wonder and rejoice as the veil is raised to permit a glimpse of Jesus, the Messiah and liberator. But then, as the Palm Sunday Mass proceeds, the horrors of the Passion are proclaimed and we must reluctantly raise our voices with the crowd, clamoring "Crucify Him!"
How could events have accelerated at such a dizzying pace between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday? The forces of darkness were never more vicious in their attempt to destroy the Mission of Jesus on this earth. That the religious leaders of the day were made instruments of evil is a tragic lesson to all religions, even to the present day. That these leaders scandalized their own people, making them agents of falsehood, is another warning to those of unwary and careless piety. How easily the righteous can be persuaded by the lies of their leaders that a certain action is not at all evil, but actually good and admirable. We wonder how many of those whom Jesus healed in His journeys were among the crowds crying out against Him just a few days later!
The Passion narrative is the most powerful story ever written about the sacrifice of the innocent to evil, and the blind consent of crowds to the will of those in power. In this year's narrative according to St. Luke, the Roman Procurator three times declares the innocence of Jesus, and so does Herod Antipas, the Jewish tetrarch of Galilee. Yet, fear of political expediency prevailed. Only the "good" thief, who defends the truth of Jesus' innocence and honestly admits his own guilt, is rewarded with heaven that day.
Holy Week offers us the opportunity to personally suffer and die with Jesus for the sinfulness of our world - the sins of our past, as well as the sins of our present society which threaten to overwhelm us and our beloved nation.
Holy Week is all about Jesus suffering for our very real sins and betrayals, and for our weak response to His call to "Follow Him." Holy Week is a time for us to realize what we're really like, and to find that the only remedy for our cowardice and fear is courageous love.
Are we ready to join our own pains and fears to the Master's, and to make as strong a response to His limitless love as we can muster? It's a fitting end to our Lenten journey, and a sure way to let the King of love effect in us that change we had so hoped would happen before Easter joy.
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Palm Sunday of the Lordís Passion
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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