Fr. Vincent Hawkswell
In Eucharistic Prayer 2, the Church calls Jesus’ death something “he freely accepted,” not just something “he had freely accepted.” He had accepted death at his incarnation, but he continued to accept it freely right to the end… On the cross, Jesus refused the mixture of wine and myrrh that would have eased his pain. Even in the face of taunts, he who had “slipped” away from those who had tried to kill him earlier refused to come down from the cross but bore the agony to the bitter end.
As we hear the Passion this weekend, then, we should have no shadow of doubt that Jesus “gave himself up” to “a death he freely accepted.” He did it out of his immense love for us: the very ones who, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “crucified Him and crucify Him still” by our “vices and sins.” (2021)
Fr. Austin Fleming
A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
Although it’s at the very heart of our faith, the story of the suffering and death of Jesus is recounted in its entirety only twice a year, and then in the same week: on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday. We encounter Jesus in this story as in no other passage from the gospels. Is he ever closer to us in our humanity: than in his being betrayed, rejected and abandoned? than in his physical and emotional suffering; than in the naked loneliness of his last hours? than in the prayer he speaks to his Father from the depths of his soul… from the height of the Cross? than in his death: his final surrender to mortality? If we do not come to meet Jesus in his suffering, how can we hope to recognize him when he comes to meet us in ours? If we do not come to meet Jesus in his suffering, how can we hope to recognize him when he comes to meet us in ours? (2015)
Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr
On Palm Sunday, with the Pasion of Christ, we begin the Holy Week which culminates in the joy of the light of Easter. But how do we live this week? (2018)
Fr. Chama’s reflection is divided into the following sections:
- Passion of Christ, depth of God’s love
- But what’s my response?
- Step out of the crowd and see a human face as yours
- Against the condemning crowds, Jesus is alone
- Jesus still alone in condemnatory populism of today
- Persons to emulate
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
The contrast in today’s liturgy is shocking. We began with the enactment of the Palm Sunday Procession of the Lord into Jerusalem. Jesus comes in riding on a donkey as the prophet Zechariah had foretold. People lay their cloaks before Him. Others wave palm branches… Children sang. Jesus remained quiet. He knew that there would be a radical change in the way that most perceived Him. They were ready for a Messiah to rule them. They were not ready for a Messiah to suffer for them. And so we come to that huge contrast, the contrast from palms to passion. We displayed this in our liturgy with the change of music and vestments, from white to red, and from triumphal music proclaiming All Glory Laud and Honor, to the solemn music remembering the cross. O Sacred Head Surrounded by crown of piercing thorns. O Bleeding head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn. (2021)
During this final week of Lent, think about the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice and the implications of it as a saving act of divine love. Also, reflect on the people, many of whom were unnamed in the Gospel, who walked with Jesus. These supporters offer us models for how we should live as Christian witnesses. The crowds welcomed Jesus and proclaimed his power and significance. The woman of Bethany tends to Jesus’ physical needs before death, and Joseph tends to his body after death. The centurion proclaims Jesus as the divine Son, spreading the Gospel to the community. The named and unnamed women are Christian witnesses who continually support Jesus even in death. Each freely offers service to Christ, and they remind us that faithful service is central to discipleship. (2021)
Fr. George Smiga
BUILDING ON THE WORD
From 1991 to 2019 Fr. Simga served as pastor as St. Noel in Willoughby Hills, Ohio where on Palm Sunday he exercised the option to proclaim the full account of the passion and to omit the homily. As a result there are no homilies available here for Palm Sunday. Fr. Sigma is the author of the article on “Caravaggio” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Art (2015). In 2009 he was the Walter and Mary Tuohy Professor at John Carroll University in Cleveland. He writes a monthly column for Living With Christ (Bayard) and contributes regularly to Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press). His most recent book is Angels in the Bible (Liturgical Press, February 2021).
Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ
SUNDAY WEB SITE
I can admit now that when I was young, I hated those movies portraying the life of Christ. They were never snazzy enough. The miracles were never convincing. To top it off, those movies always ended in failure. There is no way around it. He died. He failed. And it was a mess. Perhaps that is why I rarely found our churches very appealing. In addition to the associations of glumness and guilt, there he was, bleeding and broken up, for all to see…
Somehow, over the years, it has all changed. A child knows death but not its implications. Most adults do know them. When you get right down to it, every death is disaster. Death is a total, utter negation of everything that leads up to it. Many nonbelievers, in their more honest moments, admit the unmentionable: death seems to mock our every hope and achievement. And after seeing so many loved ones die, whether old and frail, middle-aged and struck down by infirmity, young and suddenly disappeared, I realize that nothing less than a God who would face our death could suffice. (1997)
Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.
We have to accept that following Jesus means dying to our selves and living in Jesus. We have to learn that our betrayals and falls when fully acknowledged and repented are occasions of cleansing and renewal which will usher us into a new life, a life with Jesus.
While it is true that during Lent we should constantly meditate on the Passion and Death of Our Lord, it is also true that we should also think often about His glorious Resurrection. The events we commemorate during the Holy Triduum, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, should show us why we need to grow in the love of God and to follow Him faithfully.
When the Bible speaks about what is holy, it refers to what is consecrated. It means that a place, a person, a thing, a time, or an event is made separate for God’s purpose.
We are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them to return to their native land, from which they have been exiled. Unless indeed they close off for themselves the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief. It was Dismas, the Good Thief, who suffered what he believed to be a just punishment for his crimes, who was given immediate entry into Heaven by Our Lord.