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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Palm Sunday 2017

 Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Palm Sunday
April 9, 2017
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

            Many of us look forward to Palm Sunday, the day we can wave our palms, to commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, but our gladness gives way to sadness because we are gripped in the throes of the Passion of Jesus. We feel duped. We enter the church with smiles that are wiped off our faces when we leave. We know it is coming because we repeat it year after year, but it takes us by surprise.

            It is important for us to remember that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, the great feast of deliverance. The hallmark of this feast is God’s steadfast solidarity. Therefore, we should look for God’s fidelity and we see it acted out by Jesus as he accepts his death sentence. Jesus remains faithful to God to death, even when it does not appear that God remains faithful to him. Jesus shows us how to be faithful when it would be easier for us to choose a different route.

            Isaiah’s Suffering Servant is an example of fidelity, the one who endures terrible assaults because he remains righteous. The Psalmist proclaims the goodness of God despite being ravaged by his adversaries. St. Paul includes the Christ-hymn that features the fidelity of Christ, the one who empties himself of divinity in order to accept the sufferings of humanity. Jesus Christ wanted to know the trials and tribulations we face in order to understand. God, through Jesus Christ, continues to remain steadfast to us.

You are not Jesus; nor am I. Sometimes when we suffer, we close our eyes to the storm around us and get through it just like Jesus did. We brace ourselves and endure, but we are not Jesus and we are not to suffer like him. When we suffer, we invite him into our suffering so he can ease our pain. We never do it alone. Never. We form connections with others so we can see God’s solidarity with us. When we suffer, we are to experience the mercy of Christ. So, if we try to suffer alone, like a lone ranger, we are doing it wrong. Beg Jesus to send you people who will share your suffering. We will find God when we stand together as a community.

            Look around you. These are your fellow sufferers. Give them the privilege and honor of being part of your pain. We stand together and reach out towards one another as the Israelites did during their Passover. We are never to suffer alone. Never. Do you hear that? Never. Come to me. Come to anyone in this church. We are ready to receive you. When you do, we all receive the faithfulness of God.

Scripture for Daily Mass

Monday of Holy Week: We hear from Isaiah 42 in the First Oracle of the Servant of the Lord in which God’s servant will suffer silently, but will bring justice to the world. In the Gospel, Lazarus’ sister, Mary, anoints Jesus’ feet with costly oil in preparation for his funeral.

Tuesday of Holy Week: In the Second Oracle of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 49), he cries out that I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth. In deep hurt, distress and grief, Jesus tells his closest friends at supper that one of them will betray him and another will deny him three times before the cock crows.

(Spy) Wednesday of Holy Week: In the Third Oracle of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 50), the suffering servant does not turn away from the ridicule and torture of his persecutors and tormentors. The time has come.
Matthew’s account shows Judas eating during the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with Jesus and their good friends after he had already arranged to hand him over to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. The Son of Man will be handed over by Judas, one of the Twelve, who sets the terms of Jesus’ arrest.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday: Only an evening Mass can be said today and we let our bells ring freely during the Gloria that has been absent all Lent. In Exodus, we hear the laws and customs about eating the Passover meal prior to God’s deliverance of the people through Moses from the Egyptians. Paul tells us of the custom by early Christians that as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. In John’s Gospel, Jesus loves us to the end giving us a mandate to wash one another’s feet.

Good Friday: No Mass is celebrated today though there may be a service of veneration of the cross and a Stations of the Cross service. In Isaiah, we hear the Fourth Oracle of the Servant of the Lord who was wounded for our sins. In Hebrews, we are told that Jesus learned obedience through his faith and thus became the source of salvation for all. The Passion of our Lord is proclaimed from John’s Gospel.

Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil: No Mass, baptisms, or confirmations can be celebrated before the Vigil to honor the Lord who has been buried in the tomb. The Old Testament readings point to God’s vision of the world and the deliverance of the people from sin and death. All of Scripture points to the coming of the Righteous One who will bring about salvation for all. The Old Testament is relished during the Vigil of the Word as God’s story of salvation is told to us again. The New Testament epistle from Romans tells us that Christ, who was raised from the dead, dies no more. Matthew's Gospel finds Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at dawn arriving at the tomb only to find it empty. After a great earthquake that made the guards tremble, and angel appears telling the women, "Do not be afraid." The angel instructs them to go to the Twelve to tell them, "Jesus has been raised from the dead, and is going before you to Galilee."

Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered during the Easter octave.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 9, 1615. The death of William Weston, minister to persecuted Catholics in England and later an author who wrote about his interior life during that period.
·      Apr 10, 1585. At Rome, the death of Pope Gregory XIII, founder of the Gregorian University and the German College, whose memory will ever be cherished as that of one of the Society's greatest benefactors.
·      Apr 11, 1573. Pope Gregory XIII suggested to the Fathers who were assembling for the Third General Congregation that it might be well for them to choose a General of some nationality other than Spanish. Later he expressed his satisfaction that they had elected Everard Mercurian, a Belgian.
·      Apr 12, 1671. Pope Clement X canonized Francis Borgia, the 3rd general of the Society.
·      Apr 13, 1541. Ignatius was elected general in a second election, after having declined the results of the first election several days earlier.
·      Apr 14, 1618. The father of John Berchmans is ordained a priest. John himself was still a Novice.

Apr 15, 1610. The death of Fr. Robert Parsons, the most active and indefatigable of all the leaders of the English Catholics during the reign of Elizabeth I.

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