Sunday, March 20, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

The Procession
Gospel: Luke 19:28-40

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56

The Glorious Mysteries 

The Procession Luke 19:28-40

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

28 And having said these things, he went before, going up to Jerusalem.

29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethania, unto the mount called Olivet, he sent two of his disciples,

30 Saying: Go into the town which is over against you, at your entering into which you shall find the colt of an ass tied, on which no man ever hath sitten: loose him, and bring him hither.

31 And if any man shall ask you: Why do you loose him? you shall say thus unto him: Because the Lord hath need of his service.

32 And they that were sent, went their way, and found the colt standing, as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said to them: Why loose you the colt?

34 But they said: Because the Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus. And casting their garments on the colt, they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes underneath in the way.

37 And when he was now coming near the descent of mount Olivet, the whole multitude of his disciples began with joy to praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works they had seen,

38 Saying: Blessed be the king who cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven, and glory on high!

39 And some of the Pharisees, from amongst the multitude, said to him: Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40 To whom he said: I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7

The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication

4 The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary: he wakeneth in the morning, in the morning he wakeneth my ear, that I may hear him as a master.

5 The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back.

6 I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

7 The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded: therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24

Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

8 All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.

9 He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.

17 For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.

18 They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me.

19 They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

20 But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me; look towards my defence.

23 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.

24 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.

Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11

Imitating Christ’s Humility

6 Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.

8 He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

9 For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names:

10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth:

11 And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

15 And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer.

16 For I say to you, that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

17 And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks, and said: Take, and divide it among you:

18 For I say to you, that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come.

19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.

20 In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

21 But yet behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

22 And the Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined: but yet, woe to that man by whom he shall be betrayed.

23 And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

The Dispute about Greatness

24 And there was also a strife amongst them, which of them should seem to be the greater.

25 And he said to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them, are called beneficent.

26 But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth.

27 For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? Is it not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth:

28 And you are they who have continued with me in my temptations:

29 And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom;

30 That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom: and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.

33 Who said to him: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

34 And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me. And he said to them:

Purse, Bag, and Sword

35 When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything?

36 But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.

37 For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end.

38 But they said: Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.

40 And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

41 And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast; and kneeling down, he prayed,

42 Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.

43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.

44 And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.

45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.

46 And he said to them: Why sleep you? arise, pray, lest you enter into temptation.

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him.

48 And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?

49 And they that were about him, seeing what would follow, said to him: Lord, shall we strike with the sword?

50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answering, said: Suffer ye thus far. And when he had touched his ear, he healed him.

52 And Jesus said to the chief priests, and magistrates of the temple, and the ancients, that were come unto him: Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs?

53 When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Peter Denies Jesus

54 And apprehending him, they led him to the high priest's house. But Peter followed afar off.

55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them.

56 Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light, and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him.

57 But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not.

58 And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not.

59 And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him; for he is also a Galilean.

60 And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew.

61 And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

62 And Peter going out, wept bitterly.

The Mocking and Beating of Jesus

63 And the men that held him, mocked him, and struck him.

64 And they blindfolded him, and smote his face. And they asked him, saying: Prophesy, who is it that struck thee?

65 And blaspheming, many other things they said against him.

Jesus before the Council

66 And as soon as it was day, the ancients of the people, and the chief priests and scribes, came together; and they brought him into their council, saying: If thou be the Christ, tell us.

67 And he saith to them: If I shall tell you, you will not believe me.

68 And if I shall also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go.

69 But hereafter the Son of man shall be sitting on the right hand of the power of God.

70 Then said they all: Art thou then the Son of God? Who said: You say that I am.

71 And they said: What need we any further testimony? for we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth.

Jesus before Pilate

23 And the whole multitude of them rising up, led him to Pilate.

2 And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king.

3 And Pilate asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, said: Thou sayest it.

4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man.

5 But they were more earnest, saying: He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.

Jesus before Herod

6 But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee?

And when he understood that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem, in those days.

8 And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him.

9 And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing.

10 And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him.

11 And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate.

12 And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day; for before they were enemies one to another.

Jesus Sentenced to Death

13 And Pilate, calling together the chief priests, and the magistrates, and the people,

14 Said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him.

15 No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him.

16 I will chastise him therefore, and release him.

17 Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day.

18 But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 Who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for a murder, was cast into prison.

20 And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus.

21 But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore, and let him go.

23 But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition, had been cast into prison, whom they had desired; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus.

27 And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him.

28 But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

29 For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.

30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.

31 For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

32 And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.

33 And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God.

36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

37 And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38 And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.

42 And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

The Death of Jesus

44 And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

46 And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man.

48 And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts.

49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

The Burial of Jesus

50 And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man,

51 (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God.

52 This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53 And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid.

54 And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord"

Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him - betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this king to usher in his kingdom. Jesus' entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9):

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem.  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an donkey and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.
The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover.

Augustine, the great 5th century church father, comments on the significance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem:

"The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even the death of the cross.  Thus he does not lose his divinity when he teaches us humility... What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity? For Christ was not the king of Israel so that he might exact a tax or equip an army with weaponry and visibly vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel in that he rules minds, in that he gives counsel for eternity, in that he leads into the kingdom of heaven for those who believe, hope, and love.  It is a condescension, not an advancement for one who is the Son of God, equal to the Father, the Word through whom all things were made, to become king of Israel.  It is an indication of pity, not an increase in power." (Tractates on John 51.3-4)
 Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of glory:
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory?

"Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory!"

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Passion Sunday is full of doorways to grace. I can feel it in me and in the community gathering, with palms in our hands. There's something special to this first day of a holy week.

If I am alert, I'll remember that the palms from last year were burnt to form the ashes I wore on my forehead, in the form of a cross, to begin this Lent's journey. I usually become aware right away, at the beginning, that there is tremendous irony, and a discomfort, in joining in the waving of palms and singing "Hosanna!" - just like the people in Jerusalem that day. I can become aware that in a brief moment, I'll be in the same crowd, shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Passion Sunday always has us reading the Passion story. This year, it is from Luke. But, it is set up by the marvelous reading from Isaiah and from Paul's letter to the Philippians. The passion story is not a tragedy. Jesus accepted his role, his mission. He humbled himself, obediently accepting his life and his death. And, this is all for me, for us all.

It is hard to get deeply moved by a story so familiar. I have to prepare ahead of time to get myself into a space where the reading of the passion, whether I'm reading Jesus' lines, as a presider, or whether I'm in the congregation. I have to prepare to pray through it, in the sense that I'm talking with myself, and with the Lord, during it, just as we are hearing it.

Lord, I'm so familiar with this Last Supper story, but today I want to especially listen so that I'm more deeply grateful at this Eucharist, and can say at a deeper level, "It is right to give him thanks and praise." Dear Lord, how do I thank you for what you did at that supper with your disciples?! Let me feel deeper gratitude as I hear the story again. You are giving us your body and blood as food for our journey, even today at this Mass.

This garden scene moves me. You really did wrestle with this surrender, didn't you, Lord. Thank you so much for saying "yes," for me. The betrayal by Judas is horrible until I remember the many times I betrayed you, while still trying to do what I thought was "good" by some definition. And, even there, being betrayed and arrested, you heal and you turned your disciples' response from violence.

Peter's denial must have stung you, Lord, even though you knew it would happen. It stings me as I think of the times and ways I've refused to stand up to be your disciple.

The trials - back and forth between Pilot and Herod - are so sad and such an indiginity for you, Lord, and for me experiencing it with you, whom I love. I can never say you don't understand the minor indiginties that trouble me so much.

When we, the crowd, shout, "Away with him ..." I feel the sting of it again. How much you have loved me/us in our fickled attachments and infidelities, or wandering loyalties and misplaced kinds of attachments!

Simon carried your cross. Let me carry your cross in the ways you place it on my shoulders, Lord. I so often do it with resentment and with grumbling. I so want to learn to do it with you. I love that you stopped to be with the women, grieving along the way.

In one simple sentence the story says they crucified you. They nailed your wrists and feet to a cross and hoisted you up to hang there until you could no longer lift yourself up for air. You were executed with torture. And, it is for me/us. And, I'm hearing the story and asking you for the grace to let it come into my heart. So that I might be more grateful for the gift of this complete love.

Jesus, how could you have said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”? How? Oh, how I want to ask you, beg you, to make my heart like yours. Mercy from the cross! Mercy, as you are unjustly condemned, by religious fanatics, to pay the price for my sin! Mercy that challenges every hardness in my heart for everyone that I regard as a sinner, for everyone who drives me crazy, everyone that I judge as not very good. Make my heart like yours, sharing mercy from the cross.

Oh, how I want to be like the good criminal on the cross who asks you to remember him when you come into your kingdom, and to hear you promise me, "You will be with me in Paradise." Please let me desire that communion with you more than anything else that crowds my complicated heart!

In the end you teach me how to surrender: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Let me put my life in your/our Father's hands, Lord, Jesus. Every day. Throughout my day. Even while hanging on the crosses I have to face.

I know that if I prepare to hear this passion this way, or in a similar way, it will move me. And, perhaps this year, I'll do what I've done before: cut a small piece of palm and put it in my pocket and put another small piece near my computer at work, so that I have a reminder with me of what this Palm Sunday of our Lord's Passion meant for me today and for the days ahead.

by Andy Alexander, S.J.
Creighton University's Collaborative Ministry Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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