Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the holiest week of the year which will lead us to the glory and joy of Easter Sunday. During this week Jesus will live his paschal mystery his Passover from this world to the Father, from humiliation to glory,
In the first reading on Palm Sunday and also on Good Friday we read from the Book of Isaiah two of the Servant Poems.
In the book of the Second or Deutero-Isaiah we find a series of Poems about a Servant.
  1. 42,1-4
  2. 49,1-7
  3. 50,4-11
  4. 52,13-53,12
Many identifications have been proposed for this Servant:
  • Historical Israel
  • Ideal Israel
  • An Old Testament historical character, maybe the Prophet itself
  • In the New Testament the Church has seen in Jesus the fulfillment of what is said about the Servant.
The words used hear and speak, refer to the prophetic mission of the Servant.
First Reading Is 50,4-11. PALM SUNDAY
Third Poem of the Servant
  • He hears because the Lord has open his ears
  • And a well trained tongue to speak to the weary
  • The servant is obedient, does not refuse to accomplish his mission
  • He endures whatever comes to his life because of his willingness to obey God
  • His trust is in the Lord
    • God is his help
    • God is near and upholds his right
  • The Servant invites those who fear the Lord to
    • Listen to the voice of the Servant
    • To put their trust in God
    • Those who do not follow the Lord will suffer.
First Reading Is 52,13-53,12 GOOD FRIDAY
(Fourth Poem of the Servant)
  • Description of the sinless Servant  who by his voluntary suffering atones for the sins of his people and saves them from just punishment .
  • Only in Jesus is that prophecy fulfilled
    • The Servant shall be highly exalted
    • Many were amazed at Him he looked so destroyed as a human being
    • Kings shall stand speechless at his look
    • Those who have not been told shall see, and ponder
    • Who would believe what we have heard (prophetic vocabulary)
    • He was not attractive, he was avoided by man
    • He is a man of suffering , we held him in no esteem
    • Yet he bore our infirmities (sins), he was pierced for our offenses, crushed by our sins
    • Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole. The Lord laid upon him the guilt of all  (He was made sin for us St. Paul)
    • He submitted and did open his mouth (He did not respond. John)
    • He was like a lamb led to slaughter
    • He was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
    • His grave was among the sinners (grave in the garden property of Joseph of Arimathea)
    • Place with evildoers (crucified between two criminals)
    • He had never spoke any falsehood (he walked among us doing good to every one . Acts)
    • Because he has given willingly his life he will have a new life( resurrection):
      • He shall see a new light and fullness of days
      •  Devide the spoils a vocabulary that speaks of fight and victory (it is war image)
      • Be counted among the great (name above every other name, every knee should bend…. (Philippians 2,9-11)
      • By giving his life he shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses (Philipians 2,7  He humbled himself becoming obedient even to death on a cross)
Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
R.  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 he loves him.”

R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

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.

R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.

R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned 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!”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
  • This psalm is a lamentation
  • Of someone close to his death
  • God who in former times was experienced as close is now experienced as faraway. 
  • In the last verses the situation changes, because God intervenes and this gives way to joy, praise and thanksgiving
    SECOND READING   Phl 2:6-11
  1. Paul invites the community of Philippi to have the same attitude of Christ  
  2. Christ
    • Who is God, contrary to what Adam who was not God did,  did not regard equality with God  something to be grasped,   but takes on the form of a slave (the Word’s incarnation) 
    • Slave because every man is a slave before God, God is our Master and Lord, and even if we consider ourselves important, we are only slaves, and to become like us the Word had to humiliate himself.  
    • The Word made flesh, obeyed, the opposite to what Adam the first man did. Jesus became obedient, he opened his ears and opened his mouth to proclaim his acceptance of the Father’s will.     
    • He accepted the most humiliating death, the cross.   
    • The consequence of all of this is that the Father has glorified him, giving him a name over any other name, an  absolute authority, thus everything is submitted to him because JESUS IS LORD FOR THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.  
    • Wonderful fragment of the letter of Paul to the Philippians, in this letter Paul presents Christ Jesus, as true God and at the same time as true man. This is the belief we profess in the creed.   
  • The Lucan passion narrative is read in the same liturgical year C in which the Gospel of Luke has supplied the readings on Sundays of the Ordinary time. During Easter we will read from the Acts of the Apostles, the other half of the Lucan  two-volume work. The total setting is necessary to understand the passion message:
    • The Jesus accused before Pilate by the chief priests of “perverting the nation” is one whose infancy and upbringing was totally in fidelity to the Law of Moses (2:22, 27,39,42)
    • The Jesus who is accused of forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar” is the Jesus who had declared concerning the tribute “Give to Caesar… 20:25)
    • This cast light on the declaration of some characters in the passion that Jesus is innocent  23:4,14,22,41,47)
    • The Jesus who calmly faces death is the one who had already set face to go to Jerusalem (9:51)
    • Affirming that no prophet should perish away from Jerusalem (13:33)
    • During his ministry Jesus showed tenderness, forgiveness, compassion (widow of Nain, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, in his passion he shows forgiveness for those who crucified him
    • We read in the temptations that the devil left until the opportune time, the time is now (22:53)
    • He  has always presented the disciples in a very delicate way, never mentions now in the passion that they abandoned the Lord.
    • Luke is the only evangelist who presents a post-resurrection  picture where all  the appearances of Jesus are in the Jerusalem area, as if the disciples had never fled back to Galilee.
    • The Jesus accused before the chief priest , the Roman Governor and the Herodian king prepares the way for  a Paul brought before the same cast of adversaries (Acts 21:27-25:27)
    • The innocent Jesus who dies asking forgiveness for his enemies and commending his soul to God the Father prepares the way for the first Christian martyr Stephen (Acts 7:59-60)
Beside what I saw in these sacred letters (without seeing anything with my bodily eyes as I have said above) an interior voice in the depths of my soul, was explaining me their meaning and the way to practice (…)  To my understanding I saw everything in Christ Crucified who, as he was teaching me the divine letters, was explaining me their meaning. As this was the first time that our Lord spoke to me, I did not understand of these things and I did not know how to comply with his commands. I was crying abundantly and I told his Divine majesty, whom I had very present, that seemed to me that I was speaking  face to face with the Majesty of God and said,
Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 6.
I came down from the pulpit filled with the greatest fervor, and at the end of the service we left the church to go to my lodgings. I was accompanied by four priests, my attendant, Ignacio, and a sacristan who carried a lantern to light our way, since it was 8:30 in the evening and it had already grown dark. We had left the church and were walking down the broad and spacious main street. On both sides of the avenue there were large crowds, and all were greeting me. A man stepped forward, as if to kiss my ring, when suddenly his arm flew back and he brought the razor he was holding down upon me with all his might. I had my head down and was touching a handkerchief to my mouth with my right hand, and so, instead of slitting my throat as he had intended, he slashed my face across the left cheek, from the ear to the chin. The razor also caught and wounded my right arm in passing because I was holding it up to my mouth, as I said.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 575.

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