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Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)

Saint for the day: St. Hugh of Grenoble (1052-1132)

Scripture readings for the day:

Isaiah 50:4-7

Psalm 22

Philippians 2:6-11

Mark 14:1 to 15:47

"No greater love has anyone than Jesus who lays down His life for His friends." 

On this Passion (or Palm) Sunday as we begin our Holy Week we need to be careful not to just fall back into a – “been there. Done that” attitude. Maybe we keep doing it over and over because we are kind of dense to the depth of what today and this week are all about. How can we make it fresh and really enter into the reality that Jesus suffered and died for us. And maybe even try to make it more real by saying He died for me!  Part of the personalization of this most Holy Week might be to let the images that are given to us in the Holy Scriptures come alive for us. And we begin by Jesus’ triumphfull entry into Jerusalem riding on a the colt of an ass, which is a symbol for “peace.”

Even here in Kenya it is not uncommon to see donkey carts along the streets. And I am always struck with awe when I look at the little donkey tugging and pulling at a loaded cart as if this was all there was to his life. That’s why it is fitting for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, not astride a powerful steed, but, instead on the colt of an ass!

Then, we can look at the people who are mentioned in the reading of the Passion according to St. Mark: there is the unnamed woman who anoints Jesus with expensive oil; Simon of Cyrene who helps Jesus carry the Cross; the soldier who offers Him wine to Jesus on a sponge; and Joseph of Arimathea. We have to ask ourselves, “how have I reached out to help someone who is unjustly being treated or in need?”

On Friday I mentioned a word that we all know, "Orthodoxy" which means ‘right teaching’ but we have a new word, “orthopraxis” which means “right actions” All of us have to put our faith in Jesus into action or it is useless. If we just go through this coming week with a “ho-hum” attitude we will not have moved any closer to following Jesus than if we had just stayed home watching TV!

What does Jesus’ Passion, Death AND Resurrection really mean for us?   Something to think about in these coming days. Amen.


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