Tag Archives: Palm Sunday

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

The Gospel of Mark, the first of the gospels to appear in written form, presents Jesus going to death in utter desolation, draining the cup of suffering given him by his Father. His enemies viciously reject him; his disciples mostly betray or desert him. Only a few remain as he goes on his way. His cry from the cross is a cry of faith mingled with deep fear and sorrow: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This gospel, taut and fast-paced, brings us into the dark mystery of suffering that Jesus faced. We face it too. The Passion is a book that leads to life, a risen life. Our liturgy tells us that today. Like a “well trained tongue” our readings from Isaiah 50,4-7, Philippians 2, 6-11, Psalm 22 and Mark’s Passion narrative call us to hope before the enemy death.

The desolation Jesus faced took many forms, some quite hidden from our eyes and understanding. Yes, the cross brought physical pain, but the gospels, even the gospel of Mark, the darkest of them, do not describe physical sufferings in great detail, as Mel Gibson does in his The Passion of the Christ. The sufferings Jesus endured were primarily spiritual and psychological, all indicated in the cry “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

Paul of the Cross spoke of this to a priest of his community who was experiencing the cross of spiritual desolation. God’s grace would lift him up to bring life to someone else, the saint assured him. The mystery of the cross never ends in death.

“From what you tell me of your soul, I, with the little or no light that God gives me, tell you that the abandonment and desolation, and the rest you mention, are precisely preparing you for greater graces that will help you in the ministry for which his Divine Majesty has destined you either now or at some other time. Of that I have no doubt.” (letter 1217)

Lord,

Speak to all of us today of joy and gladness,

let the bones you have crushed rejoice…

Restore in us the joy of your salvation. Ps. 51

Palm Sunday B: My God, My God, why?

 

The Gospel of Mark, the first of the gospels to appear in written form, presents Jesus going to death in utter desolation, draining the cup of suffering given him by his Father. His enemies viciously reject him; his disciples mostly betray or desert him. Only a few remain as he goes on his way. His cry from the cross is a cry of faith mingled with deep fear and sorrow: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This gospel, taut and fast-paced, brings us into the dark mystery of suffering that Jesus faced. We face it too. This mystery leads to life, a risen life.

The desolation Jesus faced took many forms, some quite hidden from our eyes and understanding. Yes, the cross means physical pain, but suffering can also come from spiritual and psychological experiences. Paul of the Cross spoke of this to a priest of his community who was experiencing the cross of spiritual desolation. God’s grace would lift him up to bring life to someone else, the saint assured him. The mystery of the cross never ends in death.

“From what you tell me of your soul, I, with the little or no light that God gives me, tell you that the abandonment and desolation, and the rest you mention, are precisely preparing you for greater graces that will help you in the ministry for which his Divine Majesty has destined you either now or at some other time. Of that I have no doubt.” (letter 1217)

Lord,

let me hear joy and gladness,

let the bones you have crushed rejoice…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Ps. 51

5th Sunday of Lent: Strengthening Signs

 

To listen to today’s homily select the audio below:


Our gospel today (John 12,20-33) is part of the Palm Sunday event, when crowds acclaimed Jesus by casting palm branches before him as he entered Jerusalem, crying “Hosanna to the Son of David.” We will celebrate that aspect of his entrance into Jerusalem next Sunday.

But this Sunday we enter into the mind of Jesus as he enters the city. He’s troubled as he enters the city, as well may he be. “My soul is troubled now, yet what shall I say, “Father, save me from this hour. But it was for this hour I have come.”

He understands what’s going to happen to him. It’s a critical moment. Jerusalem’s religious establishment, resenting his words and actions, want to dispose of him. He has just raised Lazarus from the dead; his popularity is growing; he could easily topple the uneasy balance at a volatile time and place for the Jewish nation.

So he enters Jerusalem a marked man. But as he enters the city, he’s given a sign to strengthen him, a very simple sign. Some Greeks, pilgrims for the feast no doubt, approach Philip and Andrew and say, “We would like to see Jesus.” In their request and eagerness to meet him, Jesus sees the lasting fruitfulness of his mission on earth. “Like a grain of wheat I will fall to the ground and die,..”

The gospel of John is known for signs like this, signs that point to glory. They are signs that say it is not the end, but the beginning. The Greeks who come as Jesus approaches his death are like the Magi at his birth. They are people from afar, we don’t see what will happen by the coming, but they are the first of many. There will be consequences of their coming, People will come from the east and the west; they will come from centuries beyond his own.

Like a grain of wheat, he falls to the ground and dies, but his life and his death bring much fruit .

We ask the Lord to help us see signs like he saw, signs so small, like a grain of wheat, they may be missed.
Yes, signs are there in our lives, especially as we struggle. Sometimes it’s an outsider whom we never expected help from at all. Sometimes it’s something unexpected we never thought about before. Sometimes it’s as small as Bread, the Bread of the Eucharist, which tells us we shall be fed.
God works great wonders, but we know them most through simple signs: words, things, moments that seem like nothing but they tell us all will be well.

The Greeks who came to Jesus were like that. They told him all will be well.

Where is your Palm today?

You took some palm home with you Palm Sunday? Where is it today?

Following Jesus isn’t a one day thing, it’s a lifelong journey. Stay at his side day by day. To enter Jerusalem, he sat on a humble beast of burden, the donkey, who carried the burdens of the poor.

Follow him on his way and make it your way too.

Palm Sunday

Lent 1
(Please read further for Spanish and Swahili)
Readings
Matthew’s story of the passion of Jesus (Matthew 26-27) is the first of the four gospels read in Holy Week. Why four? Because this story can’t be expressed easily; each of the evangelists has something to say.
It’s a story that begins when Jesus rises from the dead.

Appearing to his disciples at Jerusalem that day “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” ( John 20,19-21 ) To the disciples on the way to Emmaus that same day, Jesus said: “‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24,26-27) The gospel narratives grew from these appearances of the Risen Christ and the scriptures he interpreted.

The Passion of Jesus is an Easter story that brings hope. He did not hide his wounds; he showed them to his disciples. He doesn’t dismiss his sufferings and death as an embarrassing setback; the power of God appeared in them. As Jesus revealed his experience, he made the hearts of his followers burn with rejoicing. As the story is told to us, we respond with a simple response of love.

“One loving word can keep your soul in prayer for a long time. For example, you are ready to meditate on Jesus Crucified and find yourself blank and unable. Make an act of love, like this: “O my Jesus Crucified, why are you on the cross?” Then, if you can go no further and your soul is a peace in the silence of love, lost in God, just continue that way. What a great prayer this is!”

May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts!
Lent 1

Domingo de Ramos – Año A
Mateo 26, 14-75 y 27, 1-66

La historia de Mateo sobre la Pasión de Jesús (Mateo 26-27) es el primero de los cuatro Evangelios que se leen en la Semana Santa. ¿Por qué cuatro? Es que este relato no se puede expresar facilmente; cada uno de los evangelistas tiene algo que decir.

Este relato es contado inicialmente por Jesús Cristo después de resucitar de entre los muertos. Apareciendocele a sus discípulos en Jerusalén ese día, “Jesús entró y, poniéndose en medio de ellos les dijo, ‘Paz a ustedes.’ Cuando él había dicho esto, les mostró las manos y su costado.” (Juán 20,19-21) A los discípulos en el camino a Emaús ese mismo día Jesús les dijo, ” ‘¿A caso no tenía que sufrir el Mesías estas cosas antes de ser glorificado?’ Y comenzando con Moisés y todos los profetas él se puso a explicarles todos los pasajes de las escrituras que hablaban de él.” (Lucas 24,26-27) Estos narrativos del Evangelio provinieron de las apariciones del Cristo Resucitado y las escrituras que él interpretó para ellos.

La Pasión de Jesús es un relato de Pascua que trae esperanza. Él no escondió sus heridas; él se las enseñó a sus discípulos. Él no descarta sus sufrimientos y muerte como si solo hayan sido unas molestosas contrariedades; el poder de Diós se manifestó por ellas. Cuando Jesús revelaba su experiencia, él causaba que los corazones de sus seguidores ardieran con regocijo. Cuando nosotros escuchamos este relato, respondemos con la sencilla respuesta del amor.

San Pablo de la Cruz nos dice; ” Una palabra de amor puede mantener tu alma en oración por un largo rato. Por ejemplo, estás preparado para meditar sobre Jesús Crucificado y te encuentras incapaz, con la mente en blanco. Haz un acto de amor, como este: ‘O mi Jesús Crucificado, ¿por qué estás en esa cruz?’ Entonces, si no puedes proceder más allá y tu alma se siente en un estado de paz en el silencio del amor, perdido en Diós, pués continua de esa manera. Qué gran oración es esta! ”

Qué la Pasión de Cristo siga siempre en nuestros corazones!

Lent
Sikukuu Ya Matawi

Hadithi ya Matayo juu ya mateso ya Yesu ni ya kwanza kwenye injili nne

zinazosomwa wakati wa wiki takatifu. Kwa nini nne? Kwa sababu hii hadithi

haiwezi kuelezewa kwa urahisi; kila mwinjili ana jambo la kusema.

Ni hadithi iliyoanza baada ya Yesu kufufuka kutoka katika wafu.

Kuwatokea wanafunzi wake, siku ile kule Yerusalem “Yesu alikuja na kusimama

kati yao na kusema, ‘Amani iwe nanyi’. Baada ya kusema hayo, aliwaonyesha

mikono yake na ubavu (Yohana 20:19-20)”. Kwa wanafunzi wake waliokuwa

safarini kuelekea Emmaus siku ile ile, Yesu alisema: “ ‘Haikumpasa Kristo ateswe

mambo haya na kuingia katika utukufu wake?’ Aliwatafsiria maandiko matakatifu

na yale yote yaliyomhusu yeye mwenyewe, kuanzia kwa Musa na manabii. Luka

24:26-27.Simulizi la injili ya leo limekuwa kutoka katika kuonekana kwa Kristo

Mfufuka na maandiko matakatifu aliyoyaeleza/aliyoyafafanua.

Mataso ya Kristu ni hadithi ya pasaka yenye kuleta matumaini. Hakuficha vidonda

vyake; aliwaonyesha wanafunzi wake. Hatupilii mbali mateso na kifo chake

kwamba ni kitu cha aibu; nguvu ya mungu ilijionyesha ndani yao. Jinsi Yesu

alivyojifunua, alifanya mioyo ya wafuasi wake ichomwe kwa furaha. Nasi kadri

hadithi hii iliyvoelezwa kwetu, tunaitikia na mwitiko rahisi wa upendo.

Mtakatifu Paulo wa Msalaba

“Neno moja la upendo linaweza kuuweka moyo wako katika hali ya kusali kwa

mda mrefu. Kwa Mfano, uko tayari kutafakari juu ya kusulibiwa kwa Yesu na

unajikuta umetawanyika kimawazo na kushindwa kusali. Fanya tendo la upendo,

kama hili: “ O Yesu wangu uliyesulibiwa, kwa nini uko msalabani?” Alafu, kama

hauwezi kuendelea na moyo wako uko katika amani katika ukimya wa upendo,

umezama katika Mungu, basi endelea namna hii. Hii ni sala kubwa namna gani!”

Basi mateso ya Kristo na yawe daima ndani ya mioyo yetu.

Palm Sunday

We call this week “Holy Week,” because it’s the week the church follows Jesus closely to his death and resurrection. Today we go with him into Jerusalem where people clapped their hands and shouted out his name and sang his praises; a few days afterwards they put him to death by crucifixion.

This is a week to ask “Who is this?” and “Why did this happen to him?” We ask these questions because they answer the great questions of life. “Who are we?” and “Why are we here?”

Jesus Christ came upon earth, not just to teach us but through his death to take away the death we all face, and through his resurrection to give us the promise of life, eternal life.

The first few days of Holy Week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the gospel readings follow Jesus as he prepares to die. He stays away from the temple area in Jerusalem where he spoke previously to mostly hostile listeners. In these first days of Holy Week he looks for the company of “his own,” his friends in Bethany and the disciples who have followed him up from Galilee.

On Thursday of Holy Week Jesus goes with his disciples into the city, to an upper room near the temple, and at that meal he offers himself to his Father as a new sacrifice for the life of the world.

On Good Friday he faces death on a cross in a drama that has never been equaled and has hardly been understood.

Holy Saturday is a day when the world is silent. Like the disciples of Jesus before us, we wait with the little faith and hope we have for the light that will come from the empty tomb.

Easter Sunday Jesus Christ rises from the dead.

This week at Immaculate Conception Parish in Melbourne Beach, Florida, I’m preaching a mission for the first three days of Holy Week. My reflections will be mostly from the Gospel of Mark, but they will include the other scriptures that speak of the mysteries of Holy Week.

On Monday, I’ll speak about the supper at Bethany and the Last Supper in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday I’ll speak about the Passion narrative of Mark from the arrest of Jesus in the Garden to his burial in the tomb.

On Wednesday, I’ll speak about his Resurrection from the dead as the scriptures describe it.