April 14, 2019: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Pope Francis’ Homily Palm Sunday 2018
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm: 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
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. 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, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Luke 22:24-27 and 22:25
Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf. Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk 22:25), but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus does not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar.
Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism, characterized by the subjection of the nations (cf. Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). He is the Son of Man who came “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45; cf. Mt 20:24-28: Lk 22:24-27). As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all (cf. Mk 9:33- 35), showing to the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wish to sit at His right hand, the path of the cross (cf. Mk 10:35-40; Mt 20:20-23).(379)
The new relationships of interdependence between individuals and peoples, which are de facto forms of solidarity, have to be transformed into relationships tending towards genuine ethical-social solidarity. This is a moral requirement inherent within all human relationships. Solidarity is seen therefore under two complementary aspects: that of a social principle and that of a moral virtue.
Solidarity must be seen above all in its value as a moral virtue that determines the order of institutions. On the basis of this principle the “structures of sin” that dominate relationships between individuals and peoples must be overcome. They must be purified and transformed into structures of solidarity through the creation or appropriate modification of laws, market regulations, and juridical systems.
Solidarity is also an authentic moral virtue, not a “feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. That is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all”. Solidarity rises to the rank of fundamental social virtue since it places itself in the sphere of justice. It is a virtue directed par excellence to the common good, and is found in “a commitment to the good of one’s neighbour with the readiness, in the Gospel sense, to ‘lose oneself’ for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to ‘serve him’ instead of oppressing him for one’s own advantage (cf. Mt 10:40-42, 20:25; Mk 10:42-45; Lk 22:25-27)”. (193)
On Palm Sunday, the Passion account in the Gospel of Luke starts with Jesus taking His place at the Passover table. Sharing of the bread and cup, the prediction of denial and reminder of the Lord’s providential care and a finalized exhortation to pray. The journey to the cross lived in an exodus to Egypt, discernment in the Temple, baptism in the Jordan, walks thru Galilee, encounters with outcasts, the other, feasts with family and friends would soon culminate. Orchestrated by elites, contrived by the powerful, the cross was an attempt to silence the ways of God and perpetuate human greediness for power and control. To maintain the status quo of the dominate and keep the oppressed in bondage. Simon of Cyrene, with the cross played on him represents those forced by oppression to unwillingly participate in unjust systems, be they economic, political or religious. Would he had to endure if he refused to subject himself to the cross? Fortunately, some have voices to speak the truth about what they witness, as modeled by the centurion at the crucifixion who proclaims the first words after Jesus dies. Words proclaimed by a Gentile, as witness to the universality of Jesus’ death was for all humanity. And some step forward like Joseph of Arimathea to act and let his actions speak resoundingly of his belief. For even though he was a member of the ruling council his virtue and righteousness took precedent over his affiliation and place of power. His action expressed belief in immortality, for he wrapped Jesus’ lifeless body in linen, a fabric symbolizing immortality.
The Passion, from beginning to end, gives us the ardor to be disciples roused to not abandon the cross. For we see the prophets’ words come to fruition, the Psalms reverberate reality, the action of saints, named and unnamed, that have gone before us leave witness embedded in the sands of time. A continuing unfolding to when every knee should bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. An affirmation we make by our soulful expressions of prayer, our actions defining the lives we lead and our Amen in reception of the Lord’s presence at each Eucharistic celebration.
Individual Reflection:Luke 22:14-23:56
During the Paschal Triduum, from Holy Thursday thru Easter refrain from using your electronic devices except for necessary phone conversations
Family Reflection:Philippians 2:6-11
Each day during Holy Week have the family spend 15 minutes together in silence
Prayer: Take time to prayerfully reflect on your feelings when you briefly kneel during the proclamation of the Passion during Palm Sunday liturgy.
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 April 14, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.