« With Palm Sunday we begin Holy Week in which we will celebrate the great mysteries of our faith and of our redemption
« The week begins on Palm Sunday and will end on Easter Vigil.
« The last three days of the week are the Easter Triduum : The last Supper of the Lord, the Death of the Lord and the Easter Vigil which anticipates the glory of the resurrection.
« Because these faith-anchoring events are historical they cannot be repeated or “reenacted”
« That is why the church’s long tradition insists that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of the assembly’s liturgical and sacramental celebrations.
« These holy days celebrate God’s taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core,
« Recreating us as a new human community broken like the bread for the world’s life
« Community rich in compassion, steadfast in hope, and fearless in the search for justice and peace.
FIRST READING – Is 50:4-7
§ This passage from the prophet Isaiah is part of a series of 4 poems called the Poems of the Servant of Yahweh: Is 42:1-9; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12.
§ This servant can be:
o The faithful portion of the people of Israel, called to a especial mission.
o The prophet himself
o In the Christian tradition Jesus is considered to be this faithful servant of God, the Father.
§ Sometimes the description of the servant has so many details that it seems that they describe Christ’s sufferings and glory
§ However the prophet does not know Jesus, but since the word of God has different levels of understanding, over the centuries the reflection and meditation of the Church has discovered that these oracles speak of Jesus.
§ On the second poem of the Servant
o The Servant has been given a well-trained tongue that he might know how to speak
o Morning after morning his ears are opened that he may hear. With his tongue he will speak what he hears.
o He accepts his mission even being difficult
o Because he knows that he will not be put to shame, Yahweh is his teacher.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 22
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me
They mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the Lord; let him deliver him,
Let him rescue him, if the loves him.
Indeed many dogs surround me
A pack of evildoers closes in upon me
They have pierced my hands and my feet
I can count all my bones
They divided my garments among them
And for my vesture they cast lots
But you O Lord, be not far from me
O my help, haste to aid me.
I will proclaim your name to my brethren
In the midst of the assembly I will praise you
“You who fear the Lord praise him
All you descendants of Jacob give glory to him;
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel.”
ü The first stanzas of these psalm describe the suffering, humiliation and abuse suffered by the faithful servant.
ü Also his suffering feeling his God far away from him, feeling abandoned by him.
ü The last stanza speaks of light, joy, new life, we could say resurrection.
SECOND READING – Phil 2:6-11
Paul invites his community of Philippi, and he invites us too now, to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus
Being in the form of God and equal to God
He emptied himself in the incarnation to be one like us, in everything except sin.
By the incarnation he took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of man.
Those who saw him, saw a vulnerable, limited, humble and simple man, full of love and tenderness always welcoming.
He was obedient as Isaiah’s servant, accepting death and death on a cross.
He knew that he would not be put to shame because his trust is in Yahweh, Jesus
o Has been exalted because he humbled himself, being obedient to the Father
o Thus he has received a name above every other name, he is the Lord
o The first communities proclaimed “Jesus is Lord“ and everything that the Old Testament had said about Yahweh is now applied to Jesus who is our Lord and God
o Because he is God every knee bends in adoration before him.
READING OF THE PASSION ACCORDING TO MATTHEW – 26,14-27,66.
There are several scenes in this Gospel
1. THE LAST SUPPER, before and during the meal
i. Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, makes a deal with the Jewish authorities to hand Jesus over to them.
ii. Before Judas goes to the authorities, the Gospel tells us that a woman buys a very expensive perfume to anoint Jesus, and Judas considers that this money could have been used to buy food for the poor.
iii. The disciples prepare the room for the Passover meal
b. During the supper
i. Jesus sits at table with them
ii. During the Passover meal, which is the celebration of the liberation from Egypt and the Covenant on Mount Sinai, Jesus institutes the Eucharist of his body and blood.
iii. He transforms the paschal lamb meal in the Eucharistic meal of the true lamb. He does sacramentally what he will do on the next day, when he will give his life on the cross for us, for our love.
iv. He institutes also the New Covenant which will substitute the Old Covenant made on Mount Sinai.
c. In the garden of Gethsemane
i. Jesus prays, feels sorrow and distress.
ii. He asks his disciples to be awaken to stay with him because his heart is broken. These are the same disciples who were witnesses of the transfiguration.
iii. He also prays the Father, if it is possible to take away this suffering from him, but the answer from the disciples and also apparently from the Father is silence.
iv. But in some way the Father has answer his prayer and given him strength because he has the energy to meet his friend.
v. Judas leads the group that comes to take him.
d. The Religious and Civil Trials
i. He is taken in front of the Jewish authorities, who look for a reason to condemn him. This humble and simple man is a threat for them. Too many people are following him.
ii. He is condemned as blasphemer because he makes himself son of God
iii. They insult and enjoy themselves torturing him.
iv. The trial before the Roman authority, Pilate. He tries by all means to absolve him, but overcome by fear to lose his political position, he sets free a criminal and condemns the author of life and of our salvation.
e. His two disciples Peter and Judas
i. While He is interrogated and mistreated by the authorities, Peter, who had said at the last supper that he was ready to die with Jesus, fears now when a woman accuses him to be one of the followers of Jesus and denies even to know him.
ii. Judas the other disciple, who has never been able to really know the goodness and forgiveness of his teacher, hangs himself out of desperation realizing what he has done led by his ambition.
f. The way to Golgotha
i. They stripped him of the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes.
ii. They put on his shoulder the cross, instrument of torture and death
iii. They press a man from Cyrene to carry the cross for Jesus. Jesus is too weak to be able to carry his cross up to Golgotha. He would have probably died before reaching the place, but the authorities wanted to kill him on the cross between his companions two criminals.
1. Maybe we can imagine the experience of Simon of Cyrene.
2. In the movie The Passion, the man from Cyrene goes through a process of conversion. At the beginning he is reluctant and does not want to carry the cross, but as he walks with that man who does not complain and answers with love to all these mistreatments. He has not done anything bad.
3. Certainly Jesus has not done anything wrong, he has taken our place.
g. The Death of Jesus
i. After a long agony Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up his spirit.
ii. To give the spirit may simply mean, he died.
iii. But it may also signify that Jesus gives us his spirit. John also uses the same words as Matthew to indicate Jesus’ death and meaning that he gives us the Holy Spirit.
iv. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus dies alone, some women are looking from a distance, they are: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
v. To help us to understand the horror of this death, Matthews says that the dead rise from their tombs, the earth is shaken by an earthquake; the sun becomes dark as when it is night. Whenever there is a theophany nature is shaken. We have been able to kill the author of our life, the Creator. In paradise Eve and Adam wanted to be like gods, on Calvary the human race wants to eliminate God to take its place.
vi. At the death of Jesus, the soldiers who are pagans, in contemplating what is happening and the way he has died acknowledge that Jesus was the son of God.
On February 22 of the same year, we, my companion and I with the three young women mentioned above – embarked at the port of Barcelona for the port of Santiago de Cuba. Before I go on with the travel. I do not like to keep silence about another snare of the devil to impede it. This taught me more than the one in Tarragona with that good priest.
and so, armed with confidence in God, and sure that only He would be able to keep me safe with all those He had entrusted to me from so many and imminent dangers of a trip so frightful for women (and perhaps never seen with the same circumstances) I told myself: “The Lord is the defender of my life, will the most serious dangers be able to discourage me? This would be a great offense to the fatherly care of God has for his children whom he carries in the palm of his hands. With this most firm confidence we embarked, more certain and sure that if I would be accompanied by the most faithful escort. And what more faithful escort than the angels to whom God has commanded to keep you safe on the sea as on the earth? Grace was speaking this way with me. God put this trust in me since I began to serve him and I have always had my God before my eyes fully convinced that He is always at my side to uphold me. Venerable María Antonia París, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 132 and 135.
My God, may you be blessed for condescending to choose your humble servants to be Sons of the Immaculate Heart of your Mother!
Most Blessed Mother, may the courtesy of your Immaculate Heart, in accepting us as your Sons, be praised a thousand times! Mother, make us cooperate with such kindness by becoming daily more humble, fervent, and zealous for the salvation of souls.
I tell myself: A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God's love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 492-94