Lectionary Reflections: Palm Sunday [a] April 9, 2017

Engaging Faith | Fri, Mar 31, 2017

By John Bucki, S.J.

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion [a]

April 9, 2017


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

Mass: Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Matthew 26:14-27, 66



April 7: World Health Day (

April 7: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994

April 9: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 13: Holy Thursday

April 14: Good Friday

April 15: Holy Saturday

April 16: Easter Sunday



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.

— 1971 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 Paull 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

To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions.

— Pope Francis, 4 April 2015

Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 246


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, mercy, and redemption. 


The story of the Passion is a story which continues today in our lives and the lives of the people all over the planet – in the lives of the poor, in the lives of refugees and immigrants, in the lives of people in prison, in the lives of people on death row, in the lives of single parents, in the lives of the elderly, in the lives of soldiers and combatants and noncombatants, in those who are victims of racism, in those who are powerless, and even in the life of our planet which has been abused.


As we read the Passion Story, we might want to read it from the point of view of the suffering and environmental harm being inflicted on creation – on our planet – our common home.  As Christ experiences his passion, the whole planet experiences a passion and suffering. “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (Laudato Si, 2)


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.  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.

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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