Sunday, April 01, 2007

01/04/07 Palm Sunday


If you would like these meditations to come directly to your in box, please click here:

Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


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.

Today's Scripture

Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:19-29; Luke 19:28-40

Psalm 31: 9-16;Isaiah 50:4-9a; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 22:(14-71)23:1-49(50-56)

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 19:29-40. Some of the Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, order your disciples to stop." He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out."

The classical triumphal entry is that of a conquering general returning to Rome with his legions, lions, and prisoners in chains marching before him. The whole city turned out to cheer. Here we have a triumphal entry with our Messiah in homespun, on a borrowed donkey, riding into a dusty city in a remote portion of the Roman empire. We don't even know how big a parade Jesus had. The accounts say "the whole multitude of the disciples" began to shout "Hosanna!" What is "a multitude?" Thousands? Fifty? Never mind. The commotion was big enough it stirred the hearts of Jesus' band. Think how the melee must have warmed and refreshed them! Can't you just see how they must have caught one another's eyes, as they shouted for joy? "Hosanna! See, brother!" their glances say. "We aren't crazy. Surely, he is the One!" The flash of joyous recognition echoes in us, today. This is the One whom Isaiah foretold, "a righteous God and a Savior." God among us! He, whom the very stones would cry out to name, were our own mouths silent.
++++++++++ Reflections

Come, then, O beautiful soul. Since you know now that your desired Beloved lives hidden within your heart, strive to be really hidden with Him, and you will embrace Him within you and experience Him with loving affection.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 1.8

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba John said to his brother, 'Even if we are entirely despised in the eyes of men, let us rejoice that we are honoured in the sight of God.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. La'zar said, Be diligent to learn Thorah, wherewith thou mayest make answer to Epicurus; and know before whom thou toilest; and who is the Master of thy work.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Beauty of Shyness

There is something beautiful about shyness, even though in our culture shyness is not considered a virtue. On the contrary, we are encouraged to be direct, look people straight in the eyes, tell them what is on our minds, and share our stories without a blush.

But this unflinching soul-baring, confessional attitude quickly becomes boring. It is like trees without shadows. Shy people have long shadows, where they keep much of their beauty hidden from intruders' eyes. Shy people remind us of the mystery of life that cannot be simply explained or expressed. They invite us to reverent and respectful friendships and to a wordless being together in love.

Almost daily EMO:


With the five of us plus two dogs, Gonzo the RV was almost as full last night as he can get. Q and I had the most traditionally bedlike of the beds, in honor of our age, displacing my daughter and her husband, the vehicle's actual owners. Another in the party slept on a shelf over the driver's seat -- but then, he did have his own TV. And two more flipped the dining table and the banquette into a pair of identical twin beds.

We slept well, gently rocked just a bit whenever anyone got up in the night. In the morning, breakfast; such conversation as there was careful and quiet, to maintain personal space until after the coffee had done its work. You need to chose carefully the ones with whom you share such close quarters, for you will come to know each other very well. And so Holy Week begins.

Everyone involved thought he knew everyone else. They all thought they knew themselves, too: I will not betray you, I will remain faithful, I am brave and loyal and strong. I know what it means to be a friend, and I am ready for what lies ahead.

Well, maybe. And maybe not. Never think you know who you are, not for sure, not in every circumstance. And never use that flawed conviction as a weapon against someone who has been tried as you have not been tried -- or even as you have. Because no two of us are the same. You don't know someone else's life just because you know your own. And you know your own less well than you might suppose.

Perhaps that is the reason why we retain the stories of how even the disciples fell away: they were the leaders of the first Christian communities, and it is important to know that God can use us to lead even if we have not always been as good as we wish we were. Even your failures -- maybe especially your failures -- will be the building blocks of God's work in you.

So none of us are unworthy to walk with Christ through this difficult week, stumble though we may. And none of us are so excellent that we needn't bother.
Copyright © 2007 Barbara Crafton -

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day One - The Object

Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." (John 12:24-26)

Upper Room Daily Reflection

FOREVER I AM leaving off the dream
that I could ever walk this road alone —
or struggle in my own imperfect strength
against the breadth and depth and height and length
of all that darkness claims me for my own.
Yet though I know all this, the road looks long;
no cloud of deep refreshing gathers yet.
In faith all I can do is not forget
that there is still the promise of a song;
parched lips shall raise through pain their sweetest praise,
and journeying down this road because I must,
I know that with each step of desperate trust
I turn a quiet corner of your grace.

- Jennifer Lynn Woodruff
“Reluctant Pilgrim”
Weavings Journal

From pages 29-30 of Weavings Journal, May/June 2001. Copyright © 2001 by The Upper Room.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Passion Sunday: 'I Love You'"

The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: He who was everything had everything taken away from him. He who was King of Kings and Lord of Lords was crowned with thorns. All of the humanity to which he was brother was taken away from him and he walked the journey alone. Jesus, the brother to creation, was nailed to the wood of the cross, his arms nailed open. He is the eternal sign of God to humans, yet his arms were nailed open because he said in his life three most dangerous words: "I love you." When you say, "I love you," you give the other power over you. You give the other power to destroy you and the power to create you. Jesus spoke these words to his creation and we took him at his word. What happened in the body of Jesus is what humans do eternally: We hate that we should love. But God says, in effect, in the words of Superstar, "Hate me! Hit me! Hurt me! Nail me to the tree!" I love you anyway! That is God's great act of reconciliation, not just toward individuals but toward all institutions and creation. What hope!

from The Great Themes of Scripture

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

We must become like Jesus and Mary

Jesus took care of his mother, spoke to her, gave her for a son the disciple he loved, and said to that disciple, Behold your mother. As Saint John here represented all peoples, our Savior commanded us all in his person to honor and serve the Blessed Virgin as our Mother. It was, nevertheless, a great consolation to that afflicted Mother to hear the voice of her only Son. She knew that by adopting a second son she ceased not to be the mother of the first, whom she regarded as her Creator and her God. The holy virgin accepted Saint John as her son in the same way as she accepted, at the same time, all the human race as her children. Mary accepted this trust because she clearly saw that it was the will of Christ, and that people, after having treated him so badly, would never presume to return to him if he did not give them his own mother to act as a mediatrix.

She entered fully into her Son's intentions, assumed the heart of a mother for all sinners, and looked upon them as the children of sorrow whom she had brought forth at the foot of the cross. Thus that sea of sufferings into which Jesus and Mary were plunged has become for sinners a river of peace and a fountain of blessings.

Thomas of Jesus, O.S.A., (1529 - 1582), an Augustinian friar, while in prision in Africa and ministering to his fellow prisoners, wrote the book The Sufferings of Jesus, a work which has guided many people on the path to holiness, particularly Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton of the United States who was greatly influenced by the work.

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"It is Christ . . . who also maketh intercession for us." "The Spirit . . . maketh intercession for the saints." Romans 8:34, 27

Do we need any more argument than this to become intercessors - that Christ "ever liveth to make intercession;" that the Holy Spirit "maketh intercession for the saints"? Are we living in such a vital relationship to our fellow men that we do the work of intercession as the Spirit-taught children of God? Begin with the circumstances we are in - our homes, our business, our country, the present crisis as it touches us and others - are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship? Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels.

Beware of outstripping God by your very longing to do His will. We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, consequently we get so burdened with persons and with difficulties that we do not worship God, we do not intercede. If once the burden and the pressure come upon us and we are not in the worshipping attitude, it will produce not only hardness toward God but despair in our own souls. God continually introduces us to people for whom we have no affinity, and unless we are worshipping God, the most natural thing to do is to treat them heartlessly, to give them a text like the jab of a spear, or leave them with a rapped-out counsel of God and go. A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to Our Lord.

Are we in the direct line of the intercession of our Lord and of the Holy Spirit?

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working Far From the Oratory or Are on a Journey

Those sisters who are working at a great distance
and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
the Abbess judging that such is the case --
shall perform the Work of God
in the place where they are working,
bending their knees in reverence before God.

Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
and not neglect to render the task of their service.

Palm Sunday: Entry of our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem Fish, Wine, &
Oil April 1, 2007
3rd Vespers: Zechariah 9:9-15 Epistle: Philippians 4:4-9
Gospel: St. John 12:1-18

Christians Rejoice! Zechariah 9:9-15 LXX, especially vs. 9: "Rejoice
greatly, O daughter of Zion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem;
behold the King is coming to thee, just and as a Savior; He is meek and
riding on an ass, and a young foal." Zechariah's exhortation to
"rejoice" is repeated in the liturgical texts of the Feast of our Lord's
Entrance into Jerusalem: "Rejoice and be happy, O city of Zion. Be
joyful and glad, O Church of God; for behold, thy King is come sitting
upon a colt and praised by youth." And the same charge, to "rejoice in
Him," appears in many of the prophecies of the Old Testament when
reference is made to the Christ, the Anointed Messiah (cf.: Ps. 2:11
LXX; Ps. 34:9 LXX; Is. 9:3; Zeph. 3:14).

Zechariah reveals the "Why" of this rejoicing in describing the King Who
will come, His portrait perfectly matching the Lord Jesus Christ. Our
Lord is a just ruler, the true Savior, meekness Incarnate, and the
Author of salvation. In His Kingdom, weapons of war will be destroyed,
prosperity shall abound, captives will be freed, and worldly wisdom will
be defeated.

First, consider the King Himself, Christ our God. Above all, He is just
and equitable in all His judgments (Zech 9:9), being able to discern the
inner thoughts of all (Mk. 12:43,44). He clearly perceived Judas'
treachery (Lk. 22:21), Peter's capacity to love and serve despite
moments of weakness (Jn. 21:17), and Thomas' ability to overcome his
doubts (Jn. 20:27). At the same time, as King He will gather all
nations "before Him (see Zech 9:10), and He will separate them one from
another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats" (Mt. 25:32).

In joining Himself eternally to our humanity, the Lord Jesus manifests
perfect meekness, a virtue to which He calls His servants, promising
them that "they shall inherit the earth" (Mt. 5:5). With all power
available to Him to shape any moment, He stood mute and meek before His
accusers and submitted to the power of the Roman Imperial government
(Mt. 27:13,14).

Supremely, the Lord Jesus is salvation (Zech 9:9). Jesus was born to be
the Savior as the Gospel teaches us (Mt. 1:21). Furthermore, we are
saved from wrath by His blood and reconciled by His indestructible risen
life (Rom. 5:9-10). He Himself declares, "I Am the way, the truth, and
the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6). Still,
He came into time, space, and the limitations of our life that He might
raise us to unbounded, Eternal Life with Him. "For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son
into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him
might be saved" (Jn. 3:16-17).

The Prophet Zechariah's description of Christ's reign portrays the
Kingdom of God and the age to come - an eternal Dominion that already is
influencing the present world order within time. The Lord's Kingdom is
at work in the hearts and souls of the Faithful within whom He reigns
and through whom His presence in this world is felt, perceived, and

However, let our rejoicing be modest, for the Lord warns us: "Do not
think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace
but a sword" (Mt. 10:34). Only in the end shall He "command peace to
the nations" (Zech. 9:10). Still, His Holy and Life-giving Spirit is
now at work. Therefore, there are moments when weapons of war are
destroyed (vs.10), the wealth of the world is shared with some in need
(vs. 12), men and women captive to sin are set free (vs. 11), and the
modern day sons of the Greek Philosophers (vs. 13) - purveyors of
worldly wisdom - are confounded by Christ's power to heal and restore
lives. Rejoice, O People of God!

Upborne upon the heavenly throne, and seated upon the earthly foal, O
Christ our God, receive the praise of angels and our hymns as we
exclaim, Blessed is the King Who comes!


Post a Comment

<< Home