Skip to comments.Holy Week Starts Today - Hosanna to the King of Kings!
Posted on 03/20/2005 8:37:02 AM PST by Teófilo
Today is Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord, known traditionally as "Palm Sunday." The readings for today emphasize the Lord's kingship manifested in thorough simplicity and humility. Both of today's Gospel readings are taken from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the one proclaimed before the Palm procession, and the one crowning the Liturgy of the Word--the last one, the full reading of the Passion according to that evangelist.
I have a confession to make. I was the reader yesterday in the Vesper Mass. I was assigned the "narrator" part of the four-part Gospel reading with the celebrant reading the words of Christ, another man reading the individual responses encountered in the Passion story, and the people reading the collective responses.
When I reached St. Matthew 27:26-50, I choked. That has never happened to me before. The narrative became very vivid to me, and I started reading it as if I had been an eyewitness, as if I had been "there." No no, I didn't "perform" the reading, I did no theatrics, and I maintained the appropriate composure and dignity required for the proclamation of the Gospel.
For a second, the Gospel became what the were in the beginning: News. I was reading the News, in fact, "the Good News." The experience was extremely emotional to me, perhaps even spiritual, but I'm still sorting that out. The lesson learn here for all of us is that we should approach the Word of God with due reverence, and proclaim it with sobriety. Approach the Word in all its freshness and the Word will not shy away from you.
Anyway, this business of the Passion is not all about me, is about us. God has come to save us from sin, death, and the effects of sin; God has come to save for Himself. God's love transforms everything it touches and every ting it touches returns to Him.
Let us pray that during this Holy Week that starts today, the Lord makes us grow in love wisdom and prudence, so that we in turn may love one another as He loves us first.
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Yesterday (Friday) He came with His disciples from the desert village of Ephrem to Jericho. When near the Jordan we heard from His lips the third prophecy of the crucifixion. Then Salome approached with her two sons, John and James, and begged important positions for them in the coming kingdom. This gave Jesus the opportunity to proclaim His wonderful teaching on humility. We stand close and listen.
The Lord enters Jericho. I am Zacheus, the chief publican, the little man who wants to see the Messiah from a tree. He looks up to me and says, "Today salvation has come to your house!" He stays two nights with me, a despised publican!
Over the Sabbath Jesus remains in Jericho. The next day (Sunday) He starts for Jerusalem at the head of a lordly caravan. Along the road there sits a blind beggar. It is I, again. "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on mel" He heals my eyes, I see, I am enlightened!
In procession we pass through Jericho's inhospitable ravines up to Jerusalem. Night intervenes and Jesus stops at Bethany. He is joyously welcomed by Martha and Mary. Am I an active Martha or a meditating Mary? Possibly it was on this Sunday evening that the memorable meal took place when, with Lazarus present and Martha as hostess, Mary poured out the costly ointment for Jesus' burial. It was the act which estranged Judas completely from his Master.
In solemn procession on Monday afternoon the King of Israel comes to the top of Olivet, weeps over Jerusalem, and then continues on to the temple. We feel ourselves part of this festive procession, waving palms in our hands. We accompany our King and watch Him drive the money-changers out of His Father's house. Tuesday morning He returns with His disciples and while crossing Mt. Olivet curses the unfruitful fig tree, a figure of the Jewish people. This barren tree is likewise a warning for us.
Verbal encounters with the Jews take place in the temple courtyard until Wednesday afternoon when Christ hurls His eightfold curse upon Pharisee and Jew, and leaves the temple forever. With His disciples He then proceeds to the Mount of Olives and delivers His powerful discourse on the end of the world and the destruction of Jerusalem. Present in spirit we hear this sermon and take to heart His final admonition, "Be vigilant!" Meanwhile Judas has left the circle of disciples and offers his assistance to the chief priests.
Thursday morning Christ sends Peter and John from Bethany into the city to make the needed preparation for the Passover meal. As evening falls He bids farewell to His mother and His friends and goes with His apostles to the Upper Room in Jerusalem for His "Last Supper" with them.In mind and in heart we will follow our Blessed Lord closely during these sacred days of Holy Week.