March 20, 2016 – Passion Sunday

March 20, 2016 – Passion Sunday aka Palm Sunday

Click on the following “link” to read about the start of Holy Week

Scripture readings for today’s liturgy:

Isaiah 50:4-7

Psalm 22

Philippians 2:6-11

Luke 22:14-23, 56

An interesting “anti-note.” Saint Catherine of Genoa wrote about purgatory which, she said, “begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.”

Our liturgy for this Passion Sunday (what we used to call, “Palm Sunday”) takes us all the way from our jubilant singing of “Hosannas to the Highest” all the way to the cold, quiet of a garden tomb. In-between we’ll hear words like, “I gave my back to those who beat me…” and “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” In the second scripture from Philippians we’ll hear, “… He emptied himself…”

 Then, the beginning of the reading of the Passion sets Jesus – in table-fellowship – with the apostles. This reminds us that everything we believe about Jesus and salvation is centered on this unique gift of His Body and Blood – His very life-presence – to us.

But! We’re not able to just sit around a gawk at Jesus. The fulfillment of what Jesus is all about is always out there! It’s the going out that allows us to continue following Him. And the paradox is always there: a quiet garden where one can enter into the peaceful presence of God turns out to be a place of ambush!

“If you want to be my disciples take up your cross and follow me.”  The rest of the story you know but all of us need to see that we can’t share in “table-fellowship with Jesus” without passing through both the quiet gardens, and the hill of Calvary. It’s only then that we will see the empty tomb – also with lack of real understanding – until we meet the Resurrected Jesus – you guessed it! Out there … on the road where we can then say, “were not our hearts burning as He told us about the Scriptures?”

 That’s why I found that quote of St. Catherine of Genoa so fitting as we begin our Holy Week. Go back and read it again and you’ll see what I mean when I say, “Be here now!” It’s like one giant moment of God’s presence to us. Amen!

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