Passion (Palm) Sunday

Engaging Faith | Mon, Mar 22, 2010

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Passion (Palm) Sunday

March 28, 2010



At the Procession with Palms: Luke 19:28-40

Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Luke 22:14--23:56


March 27: Earth Hour (8:30pm local time)

March 28: Palm Sunday of the Lords Passion

March 29: Start of Passover at Sunset

April 1: Holy Thursday

April 2: Good Friday

April 3: Holy Saturday

April 4: Easter Sunday

April 7: World Health Day



The radical transformation of the world in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord gives full meaning to the efforts of people to lessen injustice, violence and hatred and to advance all together in justice, freedom, kinship and love.

Synod of Bishops

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel.

-Synod of Bishops

It is by uniting their own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that human beings are able to accomplish the miracle of peace and are in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse.

John Paul II, Centesium Annus, 25

It is by uniting their own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that human beings are able to accomplish the miracle of peace and are in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse.

John Paul II, Centesium Annus, 25

Christ crucified and risen, the Wisdom of God, manifests the truth that divine justice and renewing power leavens the world in a way different from the techniques of dominating violence. The victory of shalom is won not by the sword of the warrior god, but by the awesome power of compassionate love, in and through solidarity with those who suffer.

Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 159

Thoughts for your consideration

Jesus entrance into Jerusalem is about getting excited about what God wants to do in the world, right now, today, in our midst. Our entrance into Holy Week is an exciting renewal of our commitment to be involved in the challenges and struggles of our world. God is involved with the pain and suffering of our world. God is involved in our quest for justice and peace. God calls us to a new vision of life.


Isaiah refers to both speaking and listening. The servant of God is both a person who can speak boldly with a well-trained tongue and a person whose ear and heart is opened for listening. If we are to heal the brokenness of our world, we all need the grace both to listen and to speak. One alone is not enough if we are to become one people healed of all division and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.


The whole passion story reminds us that the type of authority that Jesus has is different than that of a worldly power. Christ emptied himself and became the servant of all. We need this spirit if we are to be we are to become one people healed of all division and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.


The Holy Week story is indeed a story of a struggle for communion and solidarity in the midst of great challenges and even injustice and suffering:

- in the Passover Meal that Jesus celebrates

- in the model of service that we see in the washing of feet on Thursday

- in all the courageous actions of Jesus in the midst of opposition

- in the betrayal of Jesus by his closest companions

- in the suffering and death of Jesus on Friday

- in the victory of resurrection and liberation that is revealed on Easter.


The struggle for communion and solidarity continues today.


We can treat the passion in a sentimental sort of way and work to increase a certain sense of grief concerning Jesus upon ourselves. However, more importantly, we are called to connect Jesus experience of suffering and struggle to our own experience today an experience that includes life and death, injustice and courage, community and isolation, violence and peace. Our world suffers in the lives of those who are poor or victimized by injustice and violence and natural disaster. The current events in and around Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, Haiti, Chile, the Congo, Sudan and many other places bring this home very dramatically. In light of all this, we need the spirit of Christ who humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross if we are to be we are to become one people healed of all division and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What is your reaction to remembering the passion of Jesus?

Are your discouraged?

Are you discouraged today by things like, war, violence of all sorts, selfishness, failure, injustice, discrimination, poverty, etc.?

Do you find any hope in the passion story?

Action - Links

Holy Week is a time of prayer and lots of liturgy. It is an occasion to renew our solidarity with those who are poor or afflicted. It can be a time to be of service to others especially the poor. It can be a time to speak up about injustice. Reflection on the Passion of Christ calls us to reflect on and take action to address the violence that exists in our world today and to work to bring to an end to injustice toward the poor and immigrants, the use of the death penalty, the pursuit of war and preparation for war by nations all over the world, the suffering of those who are victims of domestic violence, and many other things that violate the dignity of human beings.


Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and disadvantaged outside the country. Their web site is at . It is easy to advocate about CRS issues at:


The Catholic Bishops Justice for Immigrants Campaign continues to provide tools and information for diocesan and community-based organizing, education, and advocacy efforts at


Stop Family Violence is an organization working to bring survivor voices - and the voices of their allies - to bear on the social and political agendas affecting their lives. There site often asks people to take action on political issues.


Pax Christi strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. or


The Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty the U.S. Catholic bishops have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for over 25 years. Go to:


Crazy facts

The total Number of Death Row Inmates in the United States as of July 1, 2009 was 3,279.

1199 people have been executed in the United States since 1976.

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that In 2008, over 7.3 million people were under some form of correctional supervision including: probation, prison, jail, and parole.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Suffering God, hear our prayers.

For all those who suffering from injustice in our day, we pray.

For those who do not have access to the healthcare they need, we pray.

For all those who are victims of torture, oppression, criminal activity, or any kind of violence, we pray.

For all those caught up in our criminal justice system, we pray

For all those who are on death row anywhere in the world, we pray.

For all those who are victims of domestic violence, we pray..

For all those who are denied their basic human rights, we pray.

For all our efforts to make real the new, nonviolent, loving vision of Jesus Christ, we pray



Stations of the Cross of Jesus Christ

1. Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus is trapped by the same system that brings us the death penalty, the harshness of life in prison, political prisoners, torture, white color crime, racial profiling, the criminalization of the poor, dishonesty in politics and all the inequities of our worlds criminal justice systems.


2. Jesus is made to carry his cross

Jesus carries his burden as do all those who work the land, labor for low wages, struggle to find work, care for their children and family, worry over their debts, strive for their children, attend poor schools, are abused by their bosses, or in any way struggle to make it in this world.


3. Jesus falls the first time

The burden that crushes Jesus can be compared to the burdens of today - the burden of debt that crushes the poor economies of the world - the unequal distribution of resources which stifles development for many people and nations the lack of economic and political freedom in parts of our world.


4. Jesus meets his mother

Jesus looks on his mother with love and sees all the pain and possibility of relationship, deep family love and fidelity, abuse and violence, mutual loving care, separation and divorce, loneliness and community.


5. Simon helps Jesus carry his cross

Jesus' story becomes Simons story as well. We are all connected to anyone who suffers. In our complex world, globalization can be both a burden and a relief, a freedom and a limit. Jesus and Simon are both victims and helpers. Good and evil play out as their lives are connected.


6. Jesus falls the second time

The burden that crushes Jesus is unfair - as are the economic and political inequalities of our day - wages, resources, schools, rights, beauty, power, savings, taxes, health care, etc. Our systems are not always fair.


7. Veronica wipes the faces of Jesus

This small act of charity is a most wonderful action of great compassion. It seems to be all that Veronica can do at the moment, yet the injustice remains. She cannot stop the suffering of Jesus. The compassion of Veronica calls out for social change, for an end to injustice, for a new way of living together.


8. Jesus comforts the women of Jerusalem

Women seem to bear the burdens of the world in a special way. Women feel deeply the pain and injustice of our systems. The experience of women throughout the ages calls us to end the injustice. It calls us to a new heaven and a new earth, to a new way of being sisters and brothers.


9. Jesus falls the third time

The burden that crushes Jesus is like the burden of materialism. Every time the world worships things before people, power before justice, and consumption before the spirit, we lose what it means to be human and alive.


10. Jesus is stripped of his garments

This radical loss of everything continues to be felt in the lives of all the poor - those without enough food, clothing, shelter, education, respect, dignity, human rights, and community.


11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

Jesus is a person of active nonviolence, yet here he comes to know violence against his person - the same violence that is seen in all our wars and preparation for war, in all the violence on our streets and in our homes, in all our weapons of mass destruction, in ethnic cleansing, in genocide, in all the countless examples of violence.


12. Jesus dies on the cross

Power and control seem to be dominating values in our world, yet Jesus seems to lose all of these things that the world considers important. Yet at the same time, in Jesus nailed to a cross, we see a person of great freedom and compassionate love and a special awesome power - the power of the suffering God crying out for justice.


13. Jesus is taken down from the cross

Jesus is radically stripped of everything. He is a human person whose rights and dignity and been taken away. In Jesus, we see all the women and men of our world who still seek their basic human rights - rights to the basics like food, water, clothing, shelter, education, political freedom, development and justice.


14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

Jesus is carefully placed into the earth - an earth that is the divine creation - a planet that we so often abuse as we waste resources, seek profit before all else, consume without awareness, and disrespect the awesome beauty that is Gods gift.