Theme: THE PASSION OF THE LORD IS VICTORIOUS!
- Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7;
- Psalm 21:8-9. 17-20. 23-24. R/ v. 2;
- Philippians 2:6-11
- Matthew 26:14-27:66 (Shorter Form, Matthew 27:11-54)
Today we celebrate “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion”; Liturgical Year A! We celebrate Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, because the Passion of the Lord is victorious and the palm branch is a symbol of victory!
The first gospel that we read at the blessing of the palm branches tells us that the Passion of the Lord is victorious! The first gospel tells us that Jesus entered Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem to suffer, to die and to rise from the dead in order to give the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world! The Passion of the Lord is victorious not only for the Lord, but for all of us sinners as well! That is why the gospel tells us that the crowds welcomed Jesus with palm branches! Palm branches are a symbol of victory!
The second gospel today that we have just read also tells us that the Passion of the Lord is victorious! The second gospel tells us that Barabbas the notorious prisoner was set free, because Jesus the innocent one was condemned to death in his place! The gospel also tells us that after the death of Jesus the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, that is, the holy of holies which was accessible only to the high priest and only once a year is now accessible to all everyday! The gospel also tells us that the dead rose to life and that the pagan centurion and his fellow-guards were converted! Indeed the Passion of the Lord is victorious and salvific!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the Passion of the Lord is victorious! The first reading is the third of four suffering-servant songs of Isaiah. It tells us of the vicarious suffering of the suffering-servant of the Lord, that is, the suffering-servant suffers on behalf of sinners for the salvation of sinners! Thus we read in the first reading:
“I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle. The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.” (Is 50:6-7; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Passion of the Lord is victorious! The responsorial psalm begins with a cry of despair, but it ends with a prayer of hope! Thus the responsorial psalm begins with the response:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 21:2; SM)
But it ends with a “thanksgiving for rescue”! (NJB) Thus the last stanza of the responsorial psalm:
“I will tell of your name to my brethren and praise you where they are assembled. You who fear the Lord give him praise; all sons of Jacob, give him glory. Revere him, Israel’s sons.” (Ps 21: 23-24; SM)
Finally, the second reading also tells us that the Passion of the Lord is victorious! The second reading tells us that Christ became humbler still, by accepting death on the cross, but God raised him up and gave him a name above every name! Thus we read in the second reading as quoted in the Gospel Acclamation today:
“Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names.” (Ph 2:8-9; SM)
We put our palm branches with the crucifix, because the Passion of the Lord is victorious! It is resurrection, life, glory and salvation!
Today with the celebration of “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion”, we begin Holy Week! Holy Week will climax in the Easter Triduum of three days, that is, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday! But Good Friday begins with Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Easter Sunday begins with the Easter Vigil! The Easter Triduum which celebrates the death (Good Friday), burial (Holy Saturday), and resurrection (Easter Sunday) of the Lord is one celebration!
That is why there will be no dismissal after the Holy Thursday Mass and there will be no dismissal after the Good Friday Service! The dismissal will only be given after the Easter Vigil Mass! That is why it is important that we participate in the whole Easter Triduum of three days in order to die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A blessed Holy Week to all of you and a blessed Easter Triduum to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.