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Passion (Palm) Sunday [B], April 9, 2006

By: John Bucki, S.J.

Readings
Gospel for the Procession of Palms: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1--15:47 or Mark 15:1-39

Quotes
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.
Synod of Bishops

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel.
Synod of Bishops

 

Readings
Gospel for the Procession of Palms: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1--15:47 or Mark 15:1-39

Quotes
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.
Synod of Bishops

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel.
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 Paul II, Centesium Annus, #25

The Cross stands before us in these days as an eloquent symbol of God's love for humanity. . . In his Passion, Death and Resurrection, we are shown that the last word in human existence is not death but God's victory over death. Divine love, manifested in its fullness in the paschal mystery, overcomes death and sin, which is its cause (cf. Rom 5: 12).
John Paul II, General Audience, April 19, 2000

Is not one of our problems today that we have separated ourselves from the poor and the wounded and the suffering?
Jean Vanier

Thoughts for Your Consideration
Isaiah speaks of both speaking and listening. The servant of God is both a person who can speak boldly with a well trained tongue and a person whose ears and heart are open 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 be "one people healed of all division" and bring an end to the war, violence, and injustice which divide us. One alone is not enough if we are to respond to the needs of the world and its people.

The whole passion story reminds us that the type of authority that Jesus has is different than that of a worldly power. Christ "emptied himself and became the servant of all." We need this spirit if we are to be we are be "one people healed of all division" and bring an end to the war, violence, selfishness and injustice which divide us.

We can treat the passion in a sentimental sort of way and force a certain sense of grief upon ourselves, blaming our personal sin for Jesus' death. More importantly, we are called to connect Jesus' experience to our own experience today -- an experience that includes life and death, injustice and courage, violence and peace. We cannot contemplate Jesus' suffering without contemplating the suffering of our world and its people.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What is your reaction to remembering the passion of Jesus? Are your discouraged?
Do you despair today because of things like, war, violence of all sorts, selfishness, failure, injustice, discrimination, poverty, etc.? Do you find any hope in the passion story?

Actions -- Links
Reflection on the Passion of Christ calls us to reflect on and take action to address the violence that exists in our world today.

Stop Family Violence is an "organization working to bring survivor voices - and the voices of their allies - to bear on the social and political agendas affecting their lives." Their site often asks people to take action on political issues. www.stopfamilyviolence.org

Pax Christi "strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence." Please see: www.paxchristiusa.org or www.paxchristi.net

The War Resisters League "affirms that all war is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of all causes of war." See: www.warresisters.org

The Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty webpage reads: "While the U.S. Catholic bishops have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for 25 years, this new Campaign was launched in March of 2005." Find out more at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/deathpenalty

Prayer - Meditation

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, 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.

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. 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. 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, 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 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.

 

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections
Calendar: Lent/Easter