Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Holy Week Begins

APRIL 9, 2017

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THE ASSIGNED READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY

At the Liturgy of the Palms:

Matthew 2:1-11

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

At the Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

The Collect:

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Passover commemorated the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.  For the annual celebration of this momentous event many people entered Jerusalem, swelling the urban population for a few days.  Imagine the politics of this religious festival under Roman occupation.  This would be the optimal time for someone to proclaim himself the great liberator of the Jews from foreign rule in their homeland.

The Roman Empire had a relatively tolerant policy toward religions, permitting the Jews special privileges.  Yet this tolerance had definite limits, including rebellion or the appearance thereof.

Now that I have set the historical stage the events of the following days through Good Friday, which this Sunday sums up, make great sense.  The political waters were turbulent, and the best way for Jesus to have survived that week was to keep a low profile.  He did no such thing.

Many of those who hailed Jesus as a conquering hero on one day yelled “Crucify him!” later in the week.  He came, sending overt symbols contrary to the Messiah-as-Conquering Hero role, but that did not matter to many during the Triumphal Entry.  During the next few days Jesus acted against the interests of religious leaders cheating the devout and collaborating with the Roman occupiers.  He was going to die, for that at least.  It was a great injustice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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Posted June 19, 2010 by neatnik2009 in April, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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