Engaging Faith | Fri, Apr 8, 2011
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion [a]
April 17, 2011
At the Procession with Palms: Matthew 21:1-11
Mass: Isaiah 50:4-7
April 19: The Jewish observance of Passover begins at sundown
April 21: Holy Thursday
April 22: Good Friday
April 22: Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/
April 23: Holy Saturday
April 24: Easter
April 25: World Malaria Day
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, Centesimus 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
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.
Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 1
A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth - beware! - is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call.
Archbishop Oscar Romero
Thoughts for your consideration
Why is the crowd in the Palm Sunday story so excited?
Jesus has no economic, military, or political power.
Why is there a sense of excitement as we begin to enter the “Holy Week experience?”
Shouldn’t we be ready to give up? [After all Jesus is about to be killed.]
Shouldn’t we be discouraged by the human situation today – by war, violence of all sorts, selfishness, failure, injustice, radical income inequality, discrimination, poverty, abuse of the environment, etc.?
Do we really want to or need to remember the pain and the sorrow that we see in the passion of Christ? Is there not enough pain in the world today?
There was an excitement in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and there is an excitement as we process with palms. Why?
Is it a sense of excitement because God is among us and part of our human situation?
Is it a sense that God is with us in the midst of all the suffering and injustice?
Is it a sense that God is present in the midst of our deepest longings and dreams?
Is it a sense that God is present in the midst of our deepest struggle for what is right?
Is it a sense that God is here in the midst of the great biblical story of liberation and freedom?
Is it a sense that God is calling us to work for liberation and justice?
Is it a sense that apparent defeat is not the final word or end of the story?
Solidarity is one of the central themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The Holy Week story is a story which deals with issues around communion and solidarity:
- in the Passover Meal that Jesus celebrates
- in the model of service that we see in the washing of feet on Thursday
- in Jesus’ empowerment of his followers at the Last Supper and in the resurrection stories
- 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.
We can treat the passion in a sentimental sort of way and force a certain sense of grief upon ourselves. However, maybe we are more importantly called to connect Jesus’ experience to our own experience today – an experience that continues today to include life and death, injustice and courage, violence and peace.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Where do you see the passion of Christ in your own personal life?
Where do you see it being played out in the pubic world today?
Jesus is welcomed into the city and then is put to death.
Share examples of how public opinion changes in our culture.
Does this result in injustice? How are people hurt?
Actions - Links
Students at the Jesuit Spring Hill College in Alabama have created a Facing Poverty website to tell the story of people who experience poverty in their area. Look at it at http://www.shc.edu/facingpoverty/
The Church World Service has a Peace and Justice page and invites individuals to speak out by e-mail or phone about various justice concerns. Go to: http://www.churchworldservice.org/Educ_Advo/index.html
The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers have various online resources for “mission education.” They write “Through baptism, all Christians are called to participate in Christ's mission of bringing the Good News to all people. Mission education is the process by which Christians become more aware of their role in the mission and are formed to carry out the mission. For over 100 years, Maryknoll has been animating, encouraging and supporting Catholics in the U.S. to engage in mission.” Check out their resources at http://maryknoll.us/mepd/resources.htm and look at their blog for sharing best practices at http://missioneducationbestpractices.blogspot.com/
The following is from http://lifeinc.today.com/_news/2011/03/31/6384619-good-graph-friday-wealth-gap-widened-in-recession “The Economic Policy Institute finds that the richest 20 percent of Americans saw their share of all Americans’ wealth increase by 2.2 percentage points between 2007 and 2009. The remaining four-fifth of Americans saw their wealth decline by the same amount.” Read the report at http://epi.3cdn.net/002c5fc0fda0ae9cce_aem6idhp5.pdf
- In 2009, approximately one in four U.S. households had zero or negative net worth, up from 18.6% in 2007. For black households the figure was about 40%.
- The median net worth of black households was $2,200 in 2009, the lowest ever recorded; the median among white households was $97,900.
- Even at the 2007 economic peak, half of all U.S. households owned no stocks at all—either directly or indirectly through mutual or retirement funds.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: The Lord God is our help.
For all those in prison or jail, we pray….
For all those unjustly condemned by our criminal justice system, we pray….
For those who are criticized or attacked for trying to do what is right, we pray…
For those oppressed by unjust political systems, we pray….
For those who are victims of lies and unjust attacks, we pray….
For those who are unemployed or underemployed, we pray….
For all those who do not share justly in the wealth of our society, we pray…
For those in any way find themselves sharing in the passion of Christ, we pray….
For an end to all our wars and violence, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation