April 9, 2017: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
The love that inspires Jesus’ ministry among men is the love that he has experienced in his intimate union with the Father. The New Testament allows us to enter deeply into the experience, that Jesus himself lives and communicates, the love of God his Father — “Abba” — and, therefore, it permits us to enter into the very heart of divine life. Jesus announces the liberating mercy of God to those whom he meets on his way, beginning with the poor, the marginalized, the sinners. He invites all to follow him because he is the first to obey God’s plan of love, and he does so in a most singular way, as God’s envoy in the world.
Jesus’ self-awareness of being the Son is an expression of this primordial experience. The Son has been given everything, and freely so, by the Father: “All that the Father has is mine” (Jn 16:15). His in turn is the mission of making all men sharers in this gift and in this filial relationship: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15).
For Jesus, recognizing the Father’s love means modelling his actions on God’s gratuitousness and mercy; it is these that generate new life. It means becoming — by his very existence — the example and pattern of this for his disciples. Jesus’ followers are called to live like him and, after his Passover of death and resurrection, to live also in him and by him, thanks to the superabundant gift of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, who internalizes Christ’s own style of life in human hearts. (29) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Entrance Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm: 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Matthew 26:14 thru 27:66
Catechism of the Catholic Church
How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”. Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”. Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”, is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover. (559)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Cycles A, B and C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Matthew 27: 45 and 51
The entrance of Jesus Christ into the history of the world reaches its culmination in the Paschal Mystery, where nature itself takes part in the drama of the rejection of the Son of God and in the victory of his Resurrection (cf. Mt 27:45,51, 28:2). Crossing through death and grafting onto it the new splendour of the Resurrection, Jesus inaugurates a new world in which everything is subjected to him (cf. 1 Cor 15:20-28) and he creates anew those relationships of order and harmony that sin had destroyed. Knowledge of the imbalances existing between man and nature should be accompanied by an awareness that in Jesus the reconciliation of man and the world with God — such that every human being, aware of divine love, can find anew the peace that was lost — has been brought about. “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Nature, which was created in the Word is, by the same Word made flesh, reconciled to God and given new peace (cf. Col 1:15-20). (454)
The unsurpassed apex of the perspective indicated here is the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the New Man, who is one with humanity even to the point of “death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). In him it is always possible to recognize the living sign of that measureless and transcendent love of God-with-us, who takes on the infirmities of his people, walks with them, saves them and makes them one. In him and thanks to him, life in society too, despite all its contradictions and ambiguities, can be rediscovered as a place of life and hope, in that it is a sign of grace that is continuously offered to all and because it is an invitation to ever higher and more involved forms of sharing.
Jesus of Nazareth makes the connection between solidarity and charity shine brightly before all, illuminating the entire meaning of this connection: “In the light of faith, solidarity seeks to go beyond itself, to take on the specifically Christian dimensions of total gratuity, forgiveness and reconciliation. One’s neighbour is then not only a human being with his or her own rights and a fundamental equality with everyone else, but becomes the living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit. One’s neighbour must therefore be loved, even if an enemy, with the same love with which the Lord loves him or her; and for that person’s sake one must be ready for sacrifice, even the ultimate one: to lay down one’s life for the brethren (cf. 1 Jn 3:16)”. (196)
Twice a year we hear the story of our Lord’s Passion to punctuate Palm Sunday and Good Friday. We listen to the details, kneel at the appropriate time, a chronicle of the past calling us to an awareness of today. The entwining of precepts from sacred passages of antiquity provides a foundation for Divine revelation harkening our attention. Where does the story of the Passion lead us in our lives? To a praxis of faith and culture, faith and societal tensions, an invitation that we enter the story instead of closing the missal till Holy Week next year. Will we enter the city froth with tension or stay in the proverbial pastoral countryside? Will we enter the mystery of the feast or retreat to our own meal created incrementally on a plate lacking sacramental transformation? Will we stand up to traitors from the truth who work for pieces of silver over principle? Do we look for evidence of the risen Lord or continually mourn the what ifs of life? Can we move beyond hearing the cock crow of our infidelities and learn to cherish mercy that generates freedom and passion? Do we keep watch over our brothers and sisters, especially those in distress and facing injustice or fall asleep in self-absorbed preoccupations? Do we surrender to God’s will or desire challenges to pass away? Do we attempt to raise awareness of injustice by violence and learn to cease using the swath of proverbial swords to impose our mandates? When asked who we are, do we pronounce we are children of God, members of His whole human family or identify with me, I an individual identity? Will we venture to present day Golgothas to view those crucified today literally and figuratively or shutter ourselves behind the high stone walls of our individual fiefdoms from the reality faced by those exploited? Do we let people come forth from their tombs, self or societally imposed, to enter the holy realm of the Kingdom of God continually crafted, articulated and actualized? Will we acknowledge veils of privilege, clericalism, elitism are desired by the Passion to be torn in two, for if we don’t voice concern and participate in tearing apart injustice, we only give credence to veils neatly pleated in antiquities of exclusion.
The Passion calls us each to crosses of different dimensions and hues, where we must learn to surrender for God’s will to be done. For the Passion of Jesus and the disciples’ accompaniment was an act of faith and an act of faith for us today. A journey of releasing fear, allowing room for courage and trust . We must not permit the Passion to end at the conclusion of Holy Week’s liturgical readings, but see our journey continually meshed in the story of the Passion. Living as disciples faithful to Jesus’ journey of the Passion, allows us to bring forth a hopeful presence when injustice tries to extinguish a world illuminated by Gospel precepts of the Beatitudes and love, so we confess by our words and actions that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 26:14 thru 27:66
Disciple is a passive form of the verb to teach. Who has taught you to be a disciple of Jesus? How do you teach others to be disciples of the Lord?
Family Reflection: Matthew 26:14 thru 27:66
Attend a living Stations of the Cross or have your family portray the Stations of the Cross. Discuss the emotions felt and the relevance to your lives.
Prayer: During Holy Week Reflect on this or another version of Stations of the Cross
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 3, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.