March 25, 2018: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters. This option entails recognizing the implications of the universal destination of the world’s goods, but, as I mentioned in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, It demands before all else an appreciation of the immense dignity of the poor in the light of our deepest convictions as believers. We need only look around us to see that, today, this option is in fact an ethical imperative essential for effectively attaining the common good. (158) Laudato Si, Pope Francis
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm: 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47
Catechism of the Catholic Church
How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”. Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”. Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth.310 And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”, is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover. (559)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Cycles A, B and C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Human misery is a clear sign of man’s natural condition of frailty and of his need for salvation Christ the Saviour showed compassion in this regard, identifying himself with the “least” among men (cf. Mt 25:40,45). “It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones. When ‘the poor have the good news preached to them’ (Mt 11:5), it is a sign of Christ’s presence”.
Jesus says: “You always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me” (Mt 26:11; cf. Mk 14:7; Jn 12:8). He makes this statement not to contrast the attention due to him with service of the poor. Christian realism, while appreciating on the one hand the praiseworthy efforts being made to defeat poverty, is cautious on the other hand regarding ideological positions and Messianistic beliefs that sustain the illusion that it is possible to eliminate the problem of poverty completely from this world. This will happen only upon Christ’s return, when he will be with us once more, for ever. In the meantime, the poor remain entrusted to us and it is this responsibility upon which we shall be judged at the end of time (cf. Mt 25:31-46): “Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren”. (183)
The unsurpassed apex of the perspective indicated here is the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the New Man, who is one with humanity even to the point of “death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). In him it is always possible to recognize the living sign of that measureless and transcendent love of God-with-us, who takes on the infirmities of his people, walks with them, saves them and makes them one. In him and thanks to him, life in society too, despite all its contradictions and ambiguities, can be rediscovered as a place of life and hope, in that it is a sign of grace that is continuously offered to all and because it is an invitation to ever higher and more involved forms of sharing.
Jesus of Nazareth makes the connection between solidarity and charity shine brightly before all, illuminating the entire meaning of this connection: “In the light of faith, solidarity seeks to go beyond itself, to take on the specifically Christian dimensions of total gratuity, forgiveness and reconciliation. One’s neighbour is then not only a human being with his or her own rights and a fundamental equality with everyone else, but becomes the living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit. One’s neighbour must therefore be loved, even if an enemy, with the same love with which the Lord loves him or her; and for that person’s sake one must be ready for sacrifice, even the ultimate one: to lay down one’s life for the brethren (cf. 1 Jn 3:16)” (196)
The Palm Sunday narrative concludes with the stone rolled across the entrance of the tomb while Mary and Mary Magdalene watched the apparent finality. Two women mentioned. How many others peering from afar? The discourse not a cliff hanger but a silent reminder of power structures thinking they have the last word. Fourteen steps of betrayal woven with tenderness. If we could pause the action and enter the story how would we see ourselves reacting to the course of events? Can we enter the struggles of injustice in our world today? Are we in or out of the picture?
This Holy Week will we rush through ignoring the intricacies, refusing to enter the silence, more concerned with the lavishness of Easter dinner instead of the starkness of the cross? How can we take the journey of Holy Week and not leave it behind when the sun rises on Easter morning? For by ignoring the overcome of betrayal, defusing earthly power that thinks they control everything by their dictates or decrees, we forsake the message of the Resurrection. May living the Paschal Mystery of Holy Week give us voice from pausing to hear. Our faces like flint not cold, chilled to the world around us, but prophetic in our attributes. Resulting in a well trained tongue to comfort, inspire and rouse the weary from our time well spent in absorbing the Mystery with ears open to hear and hearts tamed from rebellion against God.
Individual Reflection: Isaiah 50:4-7
Thank you Mary Martin for sharing this resource from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
Family Reflection: Mark 14:1-15:47
As a family, spend 15 minutes in silence each day this week
Prayer: Watch the Art and Faith video for Palm Sunday Cycle B
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born March 21, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.