April 19, 2014

Blessed Is He That Comes In The Name Of the Lord (Palm Sunday Readings)

Palm Sunday is a special time for me as I was ordained a priest twenty-two years ago on Palm Sunday. I chose Palm Sunday because it is a celebration of Jesus love and faithfulness to God in a difficult time. Jesus is the model for how to get through a difficult time on faith. On Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus humility and faithfulness in overcoming opposition and saving His people. Our Lectionary Readings have now been revised to replace Palm Sunday with the “Sunday of the Passion” – which most people observe on God Friday. My preference is to maintain the old order and focus on this one brief celebration of Jesus as Lord and Saviour overcoming obstacles to ministry and riding victoriously into Jerusalem

1.     The Isaiah Reading reminds us that Jesus had to ‘set his face like flint’
·         Words jumped out at me as the choice all Christians must make in our time
·         We all risk opposition when we declare our faith or take a stand on issues
·         My parents opposed my call
·         Jesus challenged the religious authorities of His time
·         Jesus challenged and opposed Satan
·         Jesus went against his family
·         Jesus was betrayed by His disciples
·         Nice guys don’t get crucified

2.     Jesus came “in the name of the lord”

·         Like Isaiah in giving both warnings and good news
·         Jesus came in fulfillment of prophecy
·         Jesus spoke with a new authority
·         Warned people about spiritual pride
·         Warned people about mocking God
·         Called for repentance and new faith
·         Gave hope of new spiritual life where forgiveness of sins and right relationship with God was possible
·         Gave new hope of eternal spiritual life

3.     We are all called to be the one who brings good news
a.     We promise to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in our Baptism and Confirmation
b.     Brother Alfonso story – “Those who know tell those who don’t know”
c.     Challenges us all to make an effort to be sure we really know the good news
                                            i.    Read our Bibles
                                          ii.    Regular prayer time
                                         iii.    Regular self-examination and reflection
                                         iv.    Alpha, Cursillo, Bible Study

4.     Palm Sunday – a foretaste of our own joy at arriving in Heaven
·         Will be a celebration of our own faithfulness
·         Great responsibility, honour and joy to have spoken to people “”in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
·         Able to share words of knowledge that help people in their daily lives
·         Words of encouragement and wisdom – or even rebuke that can change lives
·         Consequence is joy and excitement
·         I experience joy when I preach and celebrate the Eucharist in the name of the Lord

5.     Palm Sunday is a celebration of overcoming obstacles in life
·         Jesus finally ‘comes out’ as the Messiah in the heart of Israel
·         Ordinary people ‘get it’ and celebrate God’s presence
·         Lent is a hard time if we have been seriously examining our life and repenting our sins - our failures to love God, self and neighbour

Palm Sunday is a time to celebrate our own faithfulness as we ride with Jesus to our own death and resurrection

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