The Lucan Passion Narrative

The passion narratives provide the climax for each of the four gospels, catching up themes that weave their way through the evangelists’ entire portrayal of Jesus’ life and bringing them to a dramatic completion. In deft strokes the evangelists tell us of the final hours of Jesus’ life – his last meal with his disciples; his arrest in Gethsemane; his interrogation by the religious leaders; the trial before Pilate; and finally the heart clutching scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial. Continue reading


Although most everyone calls today Palm Sunday, today is properly called Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. In the opening Gospel we recall the wonderful account of Jesus entering Jerusalem. We get to get to celebrate, wave palms, and greet the Messiah. It is a moment of joy.

It is all rather short lived. Not only in history, but in our liturgy, too. As soon as our entrance procession is over, the readings take on a decidedly different tone. There was a time when I thought that reading the Passion was jumping the gun a bit. I mean, won’t Good Friday arrive in its own good time? Can’t we let the week unfold, walking the journey with Jesus as he spends the week? Can’t we wait to hear about the Last Supper, the betrayal, Gethsemane, the trials, Pontius Pilate, scouring, the crucifixion, and Jesus dead, laid in a tomb? What is the rush? Continue reading

A guide to Holy Week

Every year Christians commemorate the week before Easter Sunday with special traditions and devotions that help them enter into the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a special time of the year, culminating in the biggest feast of the Church’s calendar – Easter. Here are the basics of what Catholics look forward to during the week that precedes Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates Holy Week with the triumphal entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem. In the Gospels Jesus comes to the city riding upon a donkey with the people placing palm branches in front of him. At Mass on this day the congregation relives this event with a procession in the church and a solemn blessing of palm branches. The Passion narrative is also read on this day. Continue reading