Lectionary Reflection: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, April 13, 2014 [a]

Engaging Faith | Wed, Apr 9, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary Reflection for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, April 13, 2014 [a]

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


Palm Sunday of the Lordís Passion [a]

April 13, 2014



At the Procession with Palms: Matthew 21:1-11

Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Matthew 26:14 - 27:66



April 14: Jewish observance of Passover begins at sundown

April 17: Holy Thursday

April 18: Good Friday

April 19: Holy Saturday

April 20: Easter



"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth ñ beware! ñ 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


"Lent is a time to change direction, to respond to the reality of evil and poverty."

Pope Francis, March 31, 2014


"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."

Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, No. 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," p. 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, No.1  


Thoughts for your consideration

Pope Francis' homily for Palm Sunday 2013 can be found at:


Pope Francis tells us:  "Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of Godís mercy, and he has bent down to heal body and soul. This is Jesus. This is his heart which looks to all of us, to our sicknesses, to our sins. The love of Jesus is great. And thus he enters Jerusalem, with this love, and looks at us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light - the light of the love of Jesus, the love of his heart - of joy, of celebration."


The Palm Sunday liturgy is a celebration of hope. Jesus has no economic, military, or political power, yet Jesus brings hope.  


In a sense we have a right to get discouraged by the human situation, by the poverty and injustice and by the violence and war in our world. Even 2,000 years after Christ, we still encounter war, violence of all sorts, selfishness, failure, injustice, radical income inequality, discrimination, poverty, abuse of the environment, etc. The pain and the sorrow that we see in the passion of Christ continues today.  


Into these realities, Jesus comes and stirs up hope among the people.


There is a sense of excitement because God is among us and part of our human situation.

There is a sense that God is with us in the midst of all the suffering and injustice.

There is a sense that God is present in the midst of our deepest longings and dreams.

There is a sense that God is present in the midst of our deepest struggle for what is right.

There is a sense that God is here in the midst of the great biblical story of liberation and freedom.

God is calling us to work for liberation and justice.

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 about communion and solidarity:

* in the Passover Meal that Jesus celebrates

* in the model of service that we see in the washing of feet on Holy 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 Good 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 Jesusí experience to our own experience today ñ 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 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?  



You can find the story of the Butterfly and the Tree at


Actions - Links

Around the world, one-third of all women will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. From domestic violence, to bride burnings, to rape as a weapon of war, the potential of too many women and girls is being threatened by gender-based violence. Urge Your congressional representatives to support the International Violence Against Women Act.  Take action at:


Our planet and environment experience a passion or suffering over the overuse and abuse of human beings. Check out the Rainforest Action Network and consider taking online action. Go to:


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


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


"Crazy Facts"

The number of death row inmates in the United States as of Oct. 1, 2012: 3,146.


1,374 people have been executed in the United States since 1976.


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 experience sexual abuse and violence, 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

Teach me your Way, O Lord 


Lord, teach me your way of treating others - sinners, children, Pharisees, Pilates and Herods, and also John the Baptists. 


Teach me your way of eating and drinking, and how to act when I'm tired from work and need rest. 


Teach me compassion for the suffering, the poor, the blind, and the lame. You, who shed tears, show me how to live my deepest emotions. Above all, I want to learn how you endured your Cross. 


Teach me your way of looking at people: the way you glanced at Peter after his denial, the way you touched the heart of the rich young man and the hearts of your disciples. 


I would like to meet you as you really are, since you change those who really know you. If only I could hear you speak as when you spoke in the synagogue of Capernaum or on the Mount of Beatitudes!


Give me grace to live my life, within and without, the way you lived your life, O Lord. 


Pedro Arrupe, SJ