Palm Sunday of The Passion Of The Lord 2013

Scripture readings for today's Mass are here

 It's worth noting that the Gospel of Luke used for this Sunday's "Procession of The Palms", focuses on the apparently mundane act of untying of the donkey/colt.

 James Tissot The Foal of Bethpage Image source

 Luke does not record waving palms but talks of the crowds "spreading their cloaks " on the ground as Jesus passed them by on his way into Jerusalem. But fear not, palms are mentioned by the other Gospel authors and you can also read what Frederick Buechner says in his account below.

If Luke's account today is continued, he also records that as Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it.

Here are excerpts from Frederick Buechner’s Palm Sunday sermon entitled “The Things That Make For Peace” from his book A Room Called Remember
His reflection covers an amalgam of Gospel accounts.

"We call it Palm Sunday because maybe they were palm branches that were thrown into the road in front of him as he approached the city-a kind of poor man's red-carpet treatment, a kind of homemade ticker-tape parade.

 Just branches is all the record states, but maybe palms is what they actually were, and in any case it's as palms that we remember them; and all over Christendom people leave church with palm leaves of their own to remember him by on the anniversary of his last journey, to pin up on the kitchen bulletin board or stick into the frame of the dresser mirror, until finally they turn yellow and brittle with age and we throw them out. 

Some of the people who were there were so carried away by what was happening that they took the clothes off their backs and spread them out on the road in front of him along with the branches, so that the clip-clop, clip-clop of the hooves of the colt he was riding was muffled by shirts, shawls, cloaks spread out there in the dust as maybe even you and I would have spread ours out too if we'd been there, because it was a moment with such hope and passion in it. 

That's what the palms are all about.

"Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord," the cry goes up. There is dust in the air with the sun turning it gold.

 Around a bend in the road, there suddenly is Jerusalem. 

He draws back on the reins. Crying disfigures his face. "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace." 
Even today, he says, because there are so few days left. Then the terror of his vision as he looks at the city that is all cities and sees not one stone left standing on another - you and your children within you - your children. 

"Because you did not know the time of your visitation," he says. Because we don't know who it is who comes to visit us. Because we do not know what he comes to give. The things that make for peace, that is what he comes to give.

Images by James Tissot

We do not know these things, he says, and God knows he's right. 
The absence of peace within our own skins no less than within our nations testifies to that. But we know their names at least. We all of us know in our hearts the holy names of the things that make for peace - real peace - only for once let us honor them by not naming them. 

Let us name instead only him who is himself the Prince of Peace.

"He shall judge between the nations and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." That is our Palm Sunday hope, and it is our only hope. 

That is what the palms and the shouting are all about. That is what all our singing and worshipping and preaching and praying are all about if they are about anything that matters. The hope that finally by the grace of God the impossible will happen. 

The hope that Pilate will take him by one hand and Caiaphas by the other, and the Roman soldiers will throw down their spears and the Sanhedrin will bow their heads. 

The hope that by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the love of Christ, who is Lord of the impossible, the leaders of the enemy nations will draw back, while there is still time for drawing back, from a vision too terrible to name. 

The hope that you and I also, each in our own puny but crucial way, will work and witness and pray for the things that make for peace, true peace, both in our own lives and in the life of this land.

Despair and hope. They travel the road to Jerusalem together, as together they travel every road we take - despair at what in our madness we are bringing down on our own heads, and hope in Him who travels the road with us and for us, and who is the only one of us all who is not mad.

 Hope in the King who approaches every human he art like a city. And it is a very great hope as hopes go and well worth all our singing and dancing and sad little palms, because not even death can prevail against this King and not even the end of the world, when end it does, will be the end of Him and of the mystery and majesty of His love. Blessed be He."

James Tissot Procession Into Jerusalem

A Variety of Reflections below

Click here for my post from last year "Heading Into Holy Week."

My post from 2012 is here 

Below is taken from this 2010 post "In Anticipation of Palm Sunday"
The crowds joyfully wave palms and lovingly welcome Jesus to Jerusalem in triumph.

In the days to come the tide will turn and these same crowds will want Him dead. 

"To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers and hypocrites of every description. 

It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul of every time, country, race, and gender. 

To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves".  – Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing

Lord of the swaying palms,

the stones of earth and the beasts of burden bear witness to your coming:

lead us from the violence of empires and the collusion of crowds

to a heart of flesh, a world remade, and a new song for all creation,
through Jesus Christ, the Crucified One.  Amen.


Please give us the grace, loving God, to pray with our hearts as well as our lips, and to serve with our deeds as well as our prayers.

In places where the church celebrates with joy today, where it laughs with little children and praises with elderly saints, till hosannas overflow from every loving heart; may your kingdom come, And your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

In places where the church gathers in sorrow or fear today, weeping with Christ Jesus for the cross that must be carried in the face of misunderstanding and abuse; may your kingdom come. 
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 In places where ordinary people are disillusioned with that greed and injustice that wants the poor and the weak blamed for the deprivations that afflict them; your kingdom come. 
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 In places where there are small hopes begging to be kept alive, programmes of compassion needing to be supported, and the beginnings of faith requiring recognition and encouragement; your kingdom come. 
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God of Christ Jesus and our God, enable each of us to enter into fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, that our personal happiness and suffering may not be wasted, but dedicated to your infinite purposes which are often baffling but always loving. In Your name we pray. Amen!

In sunshine and shadow, in joy or grief, this is the day which the Lord has made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it. We will step gratefully into this holy week;

We will tread softly for many things are already bruised;

We will go reverently for holiness is found in unlikely places;

We will walk lovingly for the love of the Crucified One is the key to all things on earth and in heaven. 

Text only is adapted from: Steven Shakespeare, Prayers for an Inclusive Church (Church Publishing, 2009), 91; Iona Community, Stages on the Way (GIA, 2000), 88; Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church of Australia.

 Fr.John Predmore at his blog Ignatian Spirituality - Set The World Ablaze, takes us into Holy Week 2013 with this wonderful reflection.
 which begins:-

"From the start of Lent, we knew this day would come. As a matter of fact, we anticipate it and look forward to the penitential season of Lent. 

We place ourselves in the scene as a bystander and we are often horrified by the highs and lows and twists and turns of the story. 

With so many details in the swirling escalation of events in the Passion narratives, one always finds a particular word or phrase upon which to settle. 

For me, the perspective of the Roman centurion captures my attention."


Video - How to Make A Palm Cross

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