Preparing for Sunday’s Gospel

Palm Sunday April 5th, 2020 Matthew 21: 1-11 & Matthew 27:11-54 (shorter reading)

“Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Matthew 27:54

Commentary: “Today’s liturgy begins with the procession with palms to remind us of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem.  [Then] the events of Jesus’ Passion are proclaimed in their entirety in today’s Liturgy of the Word.  [A] theme of Matthew’s Gospel is to show Jesus as the fulfillment of Scripture. Throughout the Passion narrative, Matthew cites and alludes to Scripture to show that the events of Jesus’ Passion and death are in accordance with all that was foretold. And if the events were foretold, then God is in control.  Jesus acts in obedience to the Father even in death, so that sins may be forgiven. Matthew places the responsibility for Jesus’ death on the Sanhedrin, the chief priests and elders who were responsible for the Temple. However, the animosity that those Jewish leaders and the Jewish people demonstrate toward Jesus is not to be interpreted in ways that blame the Jewish people for Jesus’ death. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, the narrative reflects the tension that probably existed between the early Christian community and their Jewish contemporaries. At the Second Vatican Council, the Council Fathers made clear that all sinners share responsibility for the suffering and death of Jesus and that it is wrong to place blame for Jesus’ Passion on the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus or on Jewish people today.  There are many vantage points from which to engage in Jesus’ Passion. In the characters of Matthew’s Gospel, we find reflections of ourselves and the many ways in which we sometimes respond to Jesus. Sometimes we are like Judas, who betrays Jesus and comes to regret it. We are sometimes like Peter, who denies him, or like the disciples, who fell asleep during Jesus’ darkest hour but then act rashly and violently at his arrest. Sometimes we are like Simon, who is pressed into service to help Jesus carry his cross. Sometimes we are like the leaders who fear Jesus or like Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of the whole affair. Jesus dies so that our sins will be forgiven.  The events of Jesus’ Passion, death, and Resurrection are called the Paschal Mystery. No amount of study will exhaust or explain the depth of love that Jesus showed in offering this sacrifice for us. After we have examined and studied the stories we have received about these events, we are left with one final task—to meditate on these events and on the forgiveness that Jesus’ obedience won for us.”

1.  When have you been part of a crowd to welcome someone to your community?

2.  Why do you think the religious leaders of Jesus’ time want him to be killed?

3.  When you read the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, how does it make you feel?

Audio Divina

From Jesus Christ Superstar – Rock Opera

Song Lyrics – I Don’t Know How To Love Him by Yvonne Elliman

I don’t know how to love him / What to do, how to move him/ I’ve been changed, yes really changed / In these past few days / When I’ve seen myself/ I seem like someone else

I don’t know how to take this / I don’t see why he moves me / He’s a man, he’s just a man / and I’ve had so many men before in very many ways he’s just one more.

Should I bring him down? / Should I scream and shout?  Should I speak of love? / Let my feelings out? /  I never thought I’d come to this – what’s it all about?

Don’t you think it’s rather funny / That I should be in this position? / I’m the one who’s always been / so calm so cool / no lover’s fool / running every show /He scares me so

I never thought I’d come to this / what’s it all about? Yet, if he said he loved me / I’d be lost, I’d be frightened / I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope / I’d turn my head, I’d back away / I wouldn’t want to know / He scares me so / I want him so / I love him so.

Alternative Song: Jerusalem My Destiny

Visio Divina

Giotto di Bondone - No. 26 Scenes from the Life of Christ - 10. Entry into Jerusalem - WGA09206.jpg
Giotta, Entry into Jerusalem, detail from the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua
  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you feel?
  3. What do you wonder?
  4. How is this work related to the Gospel?
  5. Read the analysis at Arts & Faith: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Cycle A
  6. What questions do you have?
  7. Where does your prayer lead you?
  8. What does it mean for my life?

See also Lectio and Visio Divina resources at

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