A project of Center of Concern
Education for Justice


At the Procession with Palms: Matthew 21:1-11

Mass: Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Matthew 26:14-27, 66



April 7: World Health Day (http://bit.ly/2mZDIxW)

April 7: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994

April 9: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 13: Holy Thursday

April 14: Good Friday

April 15: Holy Saturday

April 16: Easter Sunday


At the Procession with Palms: Matthew 21:1-11

Mass: Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Matthew 26:14-27, 66



April 7: World Health Day (http://bit.ly/2mZDIxW)

April 7: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994

April 9: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 13: Holy Thursday

April 14: Good Friday

April 15: Holy Saturday

April 16: Easter Sunday



The radical transformation of the world in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord gives full meaning to the efforts of people to lessen injustice, violence and hatred and to advance all together in justice, freedom, kinship and love.

— 1971 Synod of Bishops

It is by uniting their own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that human beings are able to accomplish the miracle of peace and are in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse.

— John Paull II, Centesimus Annus, 25

Christ crucified and risen, the Wisdom of God, manifests the truth that divine justice and renewing power leavens the world in a way different from the techniques of dominating violence.  The victory of shalom is won not by the sword of the warrior god, but by the awesome power of compassionate love, in and through solidarity with those who suffer.

— Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 159

To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions.

— Pope Francis, 4 April 2015

Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 246



Thoughts for Your Consideration

Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem is about “getting excited” about what God wants to do in the world, right now, today, in our midst.  Our entrance into Holy Week is an exciting renewal of our commitment to be involved in the challenges and struggles of our world.  God is involved with the pain and suffering of our world.  God is involved in our quest for justice and peace.  God calls us to a new vision of life, mercy, and redemption.


The story of the Passion is a story which continues today in our lives and the lives of the people all over the planet – in the lives of the poor, in the lives of refugees and immigrants, in the lives of people in prison, in the lives of people on death row, in the lives of single parents, in the lives of the elderly, in the lives of soldiers and combatants and noncombatants, in those who are victims of racism, in those who are powerless, and even in the life of our planet which has been abused.


As we read the Passion Story, we might want to read it from the point of view of the suffering and environmental harm being inflicted on creation – on our planet – our common home.  As Christ experiences his passion, the whole planet experiences a passion and suffering. “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (Laudato Si, 2)


The servant of God is both a person who can speak boldly with a well-trained tongue and a person whose ear and heart is opened for listening.  If we are to heal the brokenness of our world, we all need the grace both to listen and to speak. One alone is not enough if we are to become “one people healed of all division” and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.  Christ “emptied himself and became the servant of all.”  We need this spirit if we are to be we are to become “one people healed of all division” and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.

The Holy Week story is a story of a struggle for communion and solidarity in the midst of great challenges and even injustice and suffering:



The struggle for communion and solidarity continues today.

We are called to connect Jesus’ experience of suffering and struggle to our own experience today – an experience that includes life and death, injustice and courage, community and isolation, violence and peace.  Our world suffers in the lives of those who are poor or victimized by injustice and violence and environmental abuse and natural disaster.  In light of all this, we need the spirit of Christ who “humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” if we are to be we are to become “one people healed of all division” and bring an end to the war and violence that divides us.



Questions for Reflection in Your Faith Sharing Group

What is your reaction to remembering the passion of Jesus?

Are you discouraged?

Are you discouraged today by things like, war, violence of all sorts, selfishness, failure, injustice, discrimination, poverty, etc.?

Are you discouraged about the election in the United States?

Are you discouraged about the environmental damage that is continuing to destroy our planet?

Do you find any hope in the passion story?




A young man eagerly described what he dreamed of doing for the poor.

Said the Master, “When do you propose to make your dream come true?”

“As soon as the opportunity arrives.”

“Opportunity never arrives,” said the Master. “It’s here.”

— Anthony de Mello


You can find the story of the Butterfly and the Tree here: http://bit.ly/2omgSlT




Holy Week is a time of prayer and lots of liturgy.  It is an occasion to renew our solidarity with those “who are poor or afflicted.” It can be a time to be of service to others – especially the poor. It can be a time to speak up about injustice.  Reflection on the Passion of Christ calls us to reflect on and take action to address the violence that exists in our world today and to work to bring to an end to injustice toward the poor and immigrants, the use of the death penalty, the pursuit of war and preparation for war by nations all over the world, violence toward women, sexual abuse of others especially children and other vulnerable people,  the suffering of those who are victims of domestic violence, and many other things that violate the dignity of human beings.

Catholic Relief Services



Justice for Immigrants


The Environment Under Attack – A Moral Issue



Pax Christi





“Crazy Facts”





Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Suffering God, hear our prayers.

For all those who suffering from injustice, we pray….

For those who do not have access to the healthcare they need, we pray….

For those without access to a healthy diet and clean water, we pray….

For all those who are victims of torture, oppression, criminal activity, or any kind of violence, we pray….

For the millions of people caught up in our criminal justice system, we pray…

For all those who are on death row anywhere in the world, we pray….

For all those who are victims of domestic violence, we pray….

For all those who are denied their basic human rights, we pray….

For the plant and animal species that are threatened with extinction, we pray….

For our planet and its people as we suffer from the effects of global climate change, we pray….

For all our efforts to make real the new, nonviolent, loving vision of Jesus Christ, we pray…



Prayer — Stations of the Cross of Jesus Christ

1. Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus is trapped by the same system that brings us the death penalty, the harshness of life in prison, political prisoners, torture, white color crime, racial profiling, the criminalization of the poor, dishonesty in politics and all the inequities of our world’s “criminal justice systems.”

2. Jesus is made to carry his cross

Jesus carries his burden as do all those who work the land, labor for low wages, struggle to find work, care for their children and family, worry over their debts, strive for their children, attend poor schools, are abused by their bosses, or in any way struggle to make it in this world.

3. Jesus falls the first time

The burden that crushes Jesus can be compared to the burdens of today – the burden of debt that crushes the poor economies of the world – the unequal distribution of resources which stifles development for many people and nations – the lack of economic and political freedom in parts of our world.

4. Jesus meets his mother

Jesus looks on his mother with love and sees all the pain and possibility of relationship, deep family love and fidelity, abuse and violence, mutual loving care, separation and divorce, loneliness and community.

5. Simon helps Jesus carry his cross

Jesus’ story becomes Simon’s story as well. We are all connected to anyone who suffers. In our complex world, globalization can be both a burden and a relief, a freedom and a limit. Jesus and Simon are both victims and helpers. Good and evil play out as their lives are connected.

6. Jesus falls the second time

The burden that crushes Jesus is unfair – as are the economic and political inequalities of our day – wages, resources, schools, rights, beauty, power, savings, taxes, health care, etc. Our systems are not always fair.

7. Veronica wipes the faces of Jesus

This “small” act of charity is a most wonderful action of great compassion. It seems to be all that Veronica can do at the moment, yet the injustice remains. She cannot stop the suffering of Jesus. The compassion of Veronica calls out for social change, for an end to injustice, for a new way of living together.

8. Jesus comforts the women of Jerusalem

Women seem to bear the burdens of the world in a special way.  Women feel deeply the pain and injustice of our systems. The experience of women throughout the ages calls us to end the injustice.  It calls us to a new heaven and a new earth, to a new way of being sisters and brothers.

9. Jesus falls the third time

The burden that crushes Jesus is like the burden of materialism. Every time the world worships things before people, power before justice, and consumption before the spirit, we lose what it means to be human and alive.

10. Jesus is stripped of his garments

This radical loss of everything continues to be felt in the lives of all the poor – those without enough food, clean water, clothing, shelter, education, respect, dignity, human rights, and community.

11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

Jesus is a person of active nonviolence, yet here he comes to know violence against his person – the same violence that is seen in all our wars and preparation for war, in all the violence on our streets and in our homes, in all our weapons of mass destruction, in ethnic cleansing, in genocide, in terrorism, in all the countless examples of violence.

12. Jesus dies on the cross

Power and control seem to be dominating values in our world, yet Jesus seems to lose all of these things that the world considers important. Yet at the same time, in Jesus nailed to a cross, we see a person of great freedom and compassionate love and a special awesome power – the power of the suffering God crying out for justice.

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross

Jesus is radically stripped of everything. He is a human person whose rights and dignity and been taken away. In Jesus, we see all the women and men of our world who still seek their basic human rights – rights to the basics like food, water, clothing, shelter, education, political freedom, development and justice.

14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

Jesus is carefully placed into the earth – an earth that is the divine creation – a planet that we so often abuse as we waste resources, seek profit before all else, consume without awareness, and disrespect the awesome beauty that is God’s gift.






Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion [a]

April 9, 2017

Date Added: March 30, 2017

Click here to view free sample resources.