24 Then an argument broke out among them about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
In the midst of the Passover to break out into an argument about who would be the greatest – imagine. This scene at table is reminder to be attentive and the problem of discernment to know what is important – especially in “real time.” The problem is that all of us have a Thanksgiving meal, a birthday party – a time when something important was at hand – and we argued about the most trivial of things.
Back in the day, before becoming a Franciscan, back when the rhythm of my day was set by clients, projects, and things of the workplace, I let a different pattern take hold for Holy Week. I always took vacation. I took time off to relax, visit people, take long bike rides and decompress so I would be ready to celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.
But you know what? I have to admit, I did not pay a lot of attention to Palm Sunday. I wonder if I went to Mass and then to the office to clear up last minute things to make sure the week was free. Yet today is the gateway to Holy Week. Continue reading
36 As he rode along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; 37 and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
As Stoffregen notes, Luke’s account is one that challenges our memory with his own telling of the events. “It is quite ironic to read this as the processional gospel on ‘Palm’ Sunday. There are no ‘branches of palms’ mentioned in Luke’s account as in John (12:13). There are no ‘leaves from the field’ as in Mark (11:8). There are no ‘branches from the trees’ as in Matthew (21:8). There are no leaves or branches of any type mentioned in Luke. (Note that only John talks about ‘palms’!)” Continue reading
Luke portrays Jesus’ entry into the holy city in four scenes (vv. 28–48), the first two concerned with the acquisition of a colt for the short trip from the Mount of Olives to the city and the entry itself (vv. 28–40). These two serve a common theme—namely, Jesus’ royal personage. As will become evident, the whole process from obtaining a colt to the crowds’ proclaiming Jesus king is wrapped in the eschatological expectation and scriptural allusion (esp. Psalm 118 and Zech 9:9). As mentioned in the introduction (Context), this is a royal person entering a city – not to claim kingship, but as the follow-on to an already achieved victory. This is important because it suggests that Jesus is not about to assert his royal status. This accords well with his acclamation as king even before his birth (1:32–35), and with an interpretation of the preceding chapters of the Lukan narrative as developing the nature of Jesus’ kingship and, therefore, of his kingdom. What Luke is about to narrate, then, assumes the portrait of Jesus already established, with its salvific emphasis on good news to those living on the margins of society (4:18–19). Continue reading
28 After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem. 29 As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples. 30 He said, “Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.’” 32 So those who had been sent went off and found everything just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying this colt?” 34 They answered, “The Master has need of it.” 35 So they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the colt, and helped Jesus to mount. 36 As he rode along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; 37 and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. 38 They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He said in reply, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” Continue reading
Every year on the Sunday before Easter – the sixth Sunday of Lent – the church celebrates “Palm Sunday.” Most general calendars list the day as “Palm Sunday,” but if you look closely at a liturgical calendar you will see that it is actually called “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” The name is appropriate as it celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem but also commemorates the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final journey to the cross.
But that wasn’t always the name of the sixth Sunday of Lent. Continue reading
This coming Sunday marks Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year C). You can read a complete commentary on this gospel here.
Jesus has been traveling toward Jerusalem since Luke 9:51 (the conclusion of the Lucan narrative of the Transfiguration). The final approach to the holy city is marked with a third passion prediction (18:31-34), two scenes in the nearby city of Jericho (18:35-43; 19:1-10) and the parable of the talents (19:11-27) – the latter of which highlights a kingly figure coming to claim what was rightfully his. With this preceding, Jesus makes his entrance procession into Jerusalem. Continue reading
3 When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. 4 There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? 5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. 6 Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. 9 Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Continue reading
Today is the only Sunday on which we have two gospel readings – the first to remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem; the second to remember his Passion. I have often wondered about the two gospel readings in the same liturgy. Why is it the Church decides to tell these two stories? Continue reading
1 When they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The Master has need of it and will send it back here at once.’” 4 So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. 7 So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve. Continue reading