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Congregation for the Clergy on Palm/Passion Sunday, the Great Door of Holy Week

By Congregation for the Clergy
April 18th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This is the Sunday in which the great door of Holy Week unfolds before the lives of every Christian.  Now, time really passes quickly and the disciple is called to follow our Lord Jesus in every step as He enters Jerusalem.The identification with Christ's disciples can certainly help us to comprehend what today's liturgy invites us to contemplate. 

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - As Christians the world over celebrate Passion/Palm Sunday and begin the Great and Holy Week, we present the reflections of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy:

Palm/Passion Sunday, the Great Door of Holy Week

This is the Sunday in which the great door of Holy Week unfolds before the lives of every Christian.  Now, time really passes quickly and the disciple is called to follow our Lord Jesus in every step as He enters Jerusalem.

The identification with Christ's disciples can certainly help us to comprehend what today's liturgy invites us to contemplate.  The disciples, like the habitants of the Holy City, were witnesses to the miracles that Jesus had performed during the preceding days and months and also of how He had even resurrected Lazarus, from Bethany, from the dead. 

At one time, hearing about Jesus going to Jerusalem would cause them to feel fear and bewilderment, now their steps are guided by the euphoria that pervades the feelings of the people who are amazed at the fulfilment of the promises revealed by the prophets.

The climate that we have just heard was destined, in just a short time, to change.  The messianic title, 'Son of David' (Mt 21:9) while revealing its real importance: 'King of the Jews' (Mt 27: 29, 37) becomes a motive for mockery by the soldiers.

Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus, in the hour of His most atrocious sufferings, while He was abandoned by all, did not give way to the temptation to 'pass from Him' the cup that the Father wanted Him to drink. 

On the contrary, it is exactly in that moment that one of the four Suffering Servant Songs that the Prophet Isaiah announced was realised: 'Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear.' (Is 50:4)  In this verse emerges the attitude that every one of us should adopt. 

'Hearing' for the Semitic people is not any different from the word 'following'.  It is right therefore, for this is the theme of 'discipleship' to be like the common thread that ties all the pieces of Sacred Scriptures that we heard today together. 

It is a 'following' that, when not denied as in the case of the disciples that 'abandoned Him and fled' (Mt 26:56), becomes an unequivocal sign of love for God the Father, a unique possibility of truly loving our brothers.

It is only through 'following Christ' that our redemption takes place: the life of Our Lord Jesus was totally defined listening to the Father's will. 

We must not be amazed, therefore, if the Church also proposes to us the Letter of the Philippians which is one of the most ancient pieces of Scripture that speak of Christ.  In six verses the Letter to the Philippians is able to draw out for us Christ's life through the passage regarding obedience.

There is no other way for us to enter into the contemplation of these days of the Lord's Passion by 'following Christ'.  Let's live these days searching for His Presence in the unfolding of our lives - our work, our families and with our friends. 

Let's follow Him on the roads of Jerusalem, having the consideration to return to Him every time during this week that we will realise we have betrayed Him, abandoned Him and lost sight of Him. 

Ascending Calvary with Him we ask Him that through His total abandonment to death on the Cross, along with the Centurion who previously mocked Him, He will permit us also to recognise Him as the only One who can change our lives. 

'Truly, this was the Son of God!' (Mt 27:54) 

Mt 21,1-11: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9abtnfu.htm
Is 50,4-7: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9aggyjbr.htm
Ph 2,6-11: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9ajjvpb.htm
Mt 26,14-27,66: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9arif20.htm

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