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Sunday, 4/5/2020, Palm Sunday

Hosanna in the Highest

Gospel at the blessing of the Palms Commentary: Matthew 21:1-11

When Jesus and His disciples came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples to find a tethered ass and a colt. Jesus needed the ass to fulfill the prophecies made in Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9 which says that our king, who is a just savior, would come meek and riding an ass.

But Jesus did not simply send his disciples to find the ass and colt. Jesus told his disciples that they would immediately find the ass and colt. Why? One can draw different conclusions to that question but consider this: Whatever God says will be, will be and it will be in God’s time and this was Jesus’ time. It was at this time that Jesus would begin to fulfill, in a physical way, the purpose of His coming.

So, as Jesus began to prepare Himself for His Passion, He did so with great humility. In fact, Jesus was most humble throughout His entire life beginning with His Nativity as Jesus came into the world meek and in humble surroundings born in a stable and placed in a manger. 

The humility of Jesus teaches us that there is no place for pride with God. If the Son can be so humble, then surely, we, who are His creation and much less than He, can also be humble if we are to call ourselves His followers.

Luke tells us in his gospel, Luke 19:28-30, that when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, some Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke His disciples. They said this because they did not want to see Jesus receiving praise but a multitude of His disciples and people who were waiting shouted praise for all of the mighty deeds that they had seen done by Jesus. The crowds cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

In His remark to the Pharisees, Jesus did not simply tell them that He was not going to tell the people to shut up. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop God from receiving His praise from those who believed in Him. Jesus is telling the wicked and everyone who seeks to persecute God and His Church, past, present and future, that there is nothing they can do to stop God from receiving His praise or performing His mighty deeds and Jesus was giving fair warning that there was nothing that could stop Him from carrying out His Father’s wishes.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people asked, "Who is this?” The crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Notice that they recognized Jesus as a prophet but failed to recognize Him as God, the Son.

Our gospels for the Fourth and Fifth Sunday in Lent this year, both have as one of their messages, that we need to step out of the box so that we might see things as God sees them. If the crowds in Jerusalem had done that when Jesus made His entry, they would have recognized who Jesus was. The greeting that Jesus received would lead you to believe that the people did recognize Jesus for who he was but in their hearts they did not, which is one of the reasons why Jesus would be crucified less than a week later.

God giving His Son for our salvation not only proves His love for us, it also proves how committed He is to us. What Christ did for us proves that God will stop at nothing to save us from the forces of evil so that we can join Him in His Kingdom.

The palms which we take home are a sacramental which should remind us all through the year of this day which is the beginning of Passion Week. They should not simply become a decorative ornament. Every time we look at our palms, we should be reminded of the events which took place during Passion week. Our palms should be daily reminders for us that Our God will stop at nothing to have us join Him in His Kingdom of Heaven.

There Is No Shame

First Reading Commentary: Isaiah 50:4-7

Isaiah proclaims that God has given him a well-trained tongue so that he can speak to the weary and rouse them. Isaiah also proclaims that he will not be stopped and he proclaims that he shall not be put to shame because God is his help. But this is a prophecy and Isaiah is proclaiming what Jesus would do as He would be persecuted during His Passion.

Anytime we believe in something, we want everyone to know. It can be anything. It does not have to be religious. Whatever it is, we want to share the reasons why we are so excited about our belief. We want others to get on board with it. But when it comes to religion, some of us get skittish and understandably so. In today’s society, it is not socially acceptable to bring up religion in a conversation especially with someone we don’t know.

Well today, we learn from Isaiah that we should not be ashamed. This is one thing that we can be proud of and that pride becomes a blessing and not a sin. In fact, if we can’t be a witness and testify to our religion, we must not really believe in it or we are not totally committed to it. There are other things that we are proud of and there is no harm in letting people know. An example is a parent’s pride for their children’s accomplishments. So why can't we be proud of our religion?

Now I am not saying that we should be over bearing or that we should all be standing out on street corners preaching the Word. The best and strongest method that anyone can use to show their faith is to live by what their faith teaches. One can say that they are a believer a million times but if they do not act like it, the words mean nothing and they are like the Pharisees.

But if we truly believe, we should never shy away from an opportunity of sharing our faith because we are called to evangelize and our God is an awesome God. When we find ourselves feeling skittish, we should say what Isaiah said, “The Lord God is my help…I shall not be put to shame.”

We can’t be put to shame because there is no shame in sharing God’s Word and there is no stopping God from receiving His praise and glory. That is why in Luke 19:40, Jesus said to the Pharisees about the people crying out, “Hosanna,” “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out.”

Jesus Christ Is Lord

Second Reading Commentary: Philippians 2:6-11

The words are simple but St. Paul tells us that Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. That is because the Trinity is a mystery that the human mind is not capable of understanding. Instead, The Father sent the Son to us so that He could become one of us and one with us. Jesus carried out His Father’s Will by emptying Himself and by coming to us with complete humility.

The humility of Jesus was one of the things which made it so difficult for some people of His time to accept Him for who He was. They expected a king who would be mighty in a worldly way possessing extreme wealth and ruling a great nation that would overtake its enemies—the enemies of the Jews. Actually, they were trying to see God in the way that they wanted to see Him.

But Jesus came as a Godly king teaching that true wealth was not of this world but in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught us that the true enemies were those who followed the evil one and that they would be the ones who would be defeated by being denied the Kingdom. There were those who could not accept these truths during the time of Jesus and sadly, there are those who cannot accept these truths today.

St. Paul reminds us that because of the Son’s total obedience to the Father, the Son was greatly exalted and that to the name of Jesus, “every knee should bend and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

This is why Catholics bow their heads when they hear or speak the name of Jesus. This is one reason why, believing that it contains the living body of Christ, Catholics bow to the tabernacle in church. This is why Catholicism accepts Christ for everything He said and everything He did which is sometimes referred to as the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

Everything that Catholics believe in and everything that Catholics do in church; has its roots in Scripture. Catholics exercise all seven sacraments because Christ instituted them and/or exercised them Himself. Devout Catholics and devout Christians believe what they believe and do what they do because Jesus Christ is Lord--no one else.

Thirty Pieces of Silver

Gospel Commentary: Matthew 26:14-27:66

The Gospel of the Passion of Christ is accounted for by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. However, each writer has a slightly different account. Today’s gospel is according to Matthew. In my commentary for Good Friday, I will take an in depth look at all four Gospels. Today I wish to concentrate on Jesus being betrayed by Judas.

Ever think about how much your faith is worth to you? Can we really put a price tag on another human life? The answer to both questions is: no. And yet, Judas betrayed Jesus for just thirty pieces of silver.  

When Jesus told His disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them, they became deeply distressed and said to each other and to Jesus, “Surely it is not I, Lord.” Jesus told them that He would go as it was written of Him and He said, “…woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas questioned, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

How often have you witnessed someone who is guilty of a wrong doing react the way that Judas did? They say something like, “It can’t possibly be me,” or Well it is not me!” And, if given the opportunity, they will blame someone else in spite, of their guilt. Mankind has acted in this manner from the beginning. Remember Eve blaming the serpent and Adam blaming the woman that God Had given him?  

The response that Christ gave to Judas makes me wonder if Judas ever did believe in Jesus. If he did, Judas would have known that Jesus knew exactly what he was planning to do and moreover, he would not have betrayed Jesus in the first place. He certainly would have known better than to try hiding his guilt.

But Judas was blind as a, result of having been taken over by the devil and he was completely consumed with the deadly sins of pride and greed. The question of denial by Judas proves that he is also a liar. That is the way that sin works. You commit one sin and that sin leads into another sin and you have, to commit another sin to cover up the other sins.

To betray someone is bad enough but Judas betrayed Christ who is God. If anyone who believes in God were asked if they would ever do such a thing, they would say something like, surely not I. But do we? Okay, none of us are going to do what Judas did but for those of us who are believers, anytime we commit a sin, we go against the Will of God which is, an act of betrayal.

I am sure that there are a lot of good people at the top of our economic society who are not greedy at all. They just happen to be blessed by having wealth. But for those people, like corporate executives who at the stroke of a pen, take jobs away from people who need them just so that they (the executives) can have more money in their pockets, commit a sin of greed. I’m only talking about the executives who take such action strictly for their own personal gain which is a betrayal to their employees. And, because they are committing the sin of greed, they are betraying God no matter how much they may claim to be people of faith.

They should take note of what Judas did and remember what Jesus told us in a previous gospel, “For whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.” Therefore, if you take advantage of someone else which is a betrayal, you also betray Christ.

When Judas realized that Jesus had been condemned, he regretted what he had done. He went to the chief priests and scribes and attempted to return the thirty pieces of silver saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They refused the silver saying, “What is that to us?” So, Judas threw the money into the temple and went out and hanged himself.

Judas had remorse for his crime but notice that he said that he had betrayed innocent blood. He did not admit to betraying the Son of Man. In spite, of his remorse, Judas was still blinded and influenced enough by the devil to not testify to the completeness of his sin by not proclaiming just who it was that he had betrayed. 

But the full impact of the devil’s influence on Judas came out in how he reacted to the chief priests and scribes who refused to take the silver back. I am talking about Judas committing suicide.

Did Judas commit suicide because of remorse? If you say, “yes,” you might be able to rationalize in your own mind what Judas had done by hanging himself. But there are major problems with this thinking. God gives life and it is His to take away—not ours even when that life is our own. Because of that, suicide is murder and violates the commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” which is a mortal sin. As a result, the taking of one’s own life would never be an acceptable form of penance in the eyes of God.

Did Judas commit suicide because of shame? Bingo! That’s the way that the devil works. He entices us with his temptations and persuades us to commit sin and then he torments us and loads us down with so much shame that we self-destruct. That is exactly what Judas did by committing suicide.

If you have ever seen the movie, The Passion of the Christ, you may remember that in the scene where Judas commits suicide, he is first tormented by demons who torment him to the point of his not being able to stand it anymore. That torment led to Judas hanging himself.

What we learn from Judas is that the devil is not satisfied with coercing us into sin—he wants us to completely, destroy ourselves with sin. Why? Because the devil is out to destroy all that is good and sin by itself will not destroy us because God is all merciful and all forgiving. Therefore, the only way for the devil to defeat us with sin is to torment us into shame so that we punish ourselves until we self-destruct.

The Father’s solution to the devil’s torment is the sending of the Son who nailed sin to the cross and defeated the death of sin with His Glorious Resurrection.

In order, to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness for the sins which we commit in this life, we must confess, repent and do penance. Our liturgy throughout Lent reminds us of that and that is why devout Catholics, who should go to Confession throughout the year, make a special effort to go to Confession during Lent.

We have two options and there are no other choices. 1- We can be like Judas and allow the devil to lead us into self-destruction or 2- We can empty ourselves to God’s unending mercy and forgiveness and be with Him in heaven.

Gospel At The Procession With Palms          Matthew 21:1-11

When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
     Say to daughter Zion, “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Reading 1          Isaiah 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Reading 2          Philippians 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel          Matthew 26:14--27:66

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.”
Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written:
     I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed;
but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.”
Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
Peter said to him, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.”
And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”
Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.
Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.”
Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?
But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way?”
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to seize me?
Day after day I sat teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me.
But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward who stated, “This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and within three days rebuild it.’”
The high priest rose and addressed him, “Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But Jesus was silent.
Then the high priest said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “You have said so.
But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion?”
They said in reply, “He deserves to die!”
Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?”
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.
One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!”
As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”
Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!”
A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.”
At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.”
And immediately a cock crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.

When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done.
He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.”
They said, “What is that to us?
Look to it yourself.”
Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself.
The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, “It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.”
After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.
That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet,
     And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field just as the Lord had commanded me.

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.
Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said, “Let him be crucified!”
But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha ¬—which means Place of the Skull —, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”
There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.
Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.
Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, the one following the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said, ‘After three days I will be raised up.’
Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal him and say to the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’
This last imposture would be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them, “The guard is yours; go, secure it as best you can.”
So they went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard.

Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!

Get the vaccine!

The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

As the people cheered Him waving palms and crying out, "Hosanna," Jesus entered Jerusalem riding an ass. If only the people knew that as they paid tribute to Jesus, they were giving humility itself, the respect and honor that it deserves.

Psalm 24:7
Lift up your heads, O gates;
rise up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may enter.

Responsorial Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24

R. (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
"He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him."
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
"You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!"
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Isaiah teaches us that there is no shame in God. After all, without God, we do not exist.

Jesus Christ is Lord but He was both humble and obedient to the Father to the point of taking our sins to the cross.

Verse Before the Gospel

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

Emmanuel, the Messiah and the Savior of the World was betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver. None of us can say that we would never ever do that because none of us are perfect but all of us sin and every time that we sin, we betray the One who still saves with His forgiveness.

Today we celebrate the triumph of Jesus entering Jerusalem. But Jesus was preparing Himself for the three days of His Sorrowful Passion followed by His Gorious Resurrection. With our sins, we each play a part in the Passion which should make us sorrowful during the Passion. However, Jesus defeated death with His Glorious Resurrection so that each of us could be saved. Nothing should bring us more joy or more happiness.

First Station
Jesus is Condemned

Second Station
Jesus Carries His Cross

Third Station
Jesus Falls the First Time

Fourth Station
Jesus Meets Mary

Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

Sixth Station
Veronica Wipes
the Face of Jesus

Seventh Station
Jesus Falls the Second Time

Eighth Station
Jesus Speaks to the
Women of Jerusalem

Ninth Station
Jesus Falls the Third Time

Tenth Station
Jesus is Stripped
of His Garments

Eleventh Station
Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Twelth Station
Jesus Dies on the Cross

Thirteenth Station
Jesus is Taken
Down from the Cross

Fourteenth Station
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Jesus came out of love to instill love, peace and joy in our hearts so that we can enjoy eternal love, peace and joy with Him in His Kingdom.

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