April 5: Passion Sunday

Pietro Lorenzetti, Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi, c.1320

Liturgy of the Palms
Gospel: Mark 11:1-11

Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord(NRSV, Mark 11:9)!”

Let us pray.

Father, in the gospel of Luke, Jesus’ physical life here on earth begins with a pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem. For Matthew, there is also pilgrimage, to save the infant from death, pilgrimage from Bethlehem to Egypt and eventually to Nazareth.
In the entire synoptic tradition, Mark, Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ public ministry is a great pilgrimage from Galilee to Jerusalem where the paschal mystery of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection then unfolds.

So much, Father, of our story as your people is pilgrimage: out of Egypt through the desert and into the land. Centuries before Moses, Abraham also went on pilgrimage leaving his home in Mesopotamia in search of you on a quest that brought him to the land.

Today, Father, we celebrate Jesus’ final ceremonial pilgrimage over the crest of the Mount of Olives down across the Kedron Valley into Jerusalem. It was a day of triumph for Jesus leading, however, as the days went on, to his eventual betrayal, arrest, passion, and crucifixion; his passage through death, which John describes as his hour of glory.

Father, all of human life is pilgrimage, from that first moment, still in the womb, when in response to your Word, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we say “yes” to your gift of life, human and divine. All of life, from that moment on, is an everlasting journey towards you, Father, who are our only true Future.

Whenever we foolishly turn away from you in sin, you are always there in your Word challenging us to accept your forgiveness and renewal of your life in the Holy Spirit. You are there with us especially as the Word guides us through physical death as he himself, during this Holy Week, passed through it in his human nature. The Word is our Way to you, Father, on a journey that never ends but leads on and on into an ever increasing share in your life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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