April 10, Palm Sunday: a Sunday Scriptures blog

Today we begin Holy Week, a week when we hear the Passion Narrative twice. On Good Friday the Passion Narrative from John’s Gospel is always read, and on Palm Sunday we hear the Passion Narrative according to the liturgical year. This year it’s the Gospel of Luke (Year C). But the second reading on Palm Sunday is the same in the three liturgical years of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is a passage from the Epistle to the Philippians (2:6-11). Scripture scholars believe this was an early Christian hymn. It speaks of Christ Jesus emptying himself of equality with God to become human “to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Consider that Jesus of Nazareth would have had to die because he was human. But that he died a violent death, “even death on a cross,” is very important. Jesus’ violent death resulted from betrayal, from Jewish leaders wanting to rid themselves of a popular reformer, from a Roman official afraid to do what he knew was right, from brutal cruelty of military people, from crowds easily swayed and perhaps bribed, from the weakness of fear-filled disciples, from a culture of violence and greed. Calvary was located outside the city walls. Jesus died as a person thrown away. That Jesus died this way is a manifestation of God — God’s appearance or glory. God is holding up a mirror to us so that we must face ourselves so many years later, acting in the same way. “The sin of the world,” we call it. That Jesus rose is the second part of God’s message — evil has no place in God, in the kingdom of the Lord, and is a power God defeats. The way Jesus met his violent death with love and forgiveness shines a light on the violence “in what we do and fail to do.” We meditate on Jesus’ passion this week not only with remorse for our private failures to love but also with awareness of our failure as part of the human family to create a world of peace, love and security for all.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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