Fr Vincent's reflections on Palm Sunday 2021
We enter Holy Week, the most significant week of our Catholic Faith. We are asked to accompany Jesus in his final days on earth so that we can be assured of the promised gift of the Resurrection and eternal life. This year we read the Passion from the Gospel of Mark. The Last Supper is remembered so we recall the gift of the Eucharist, the Body of Blood of Jesus given to us to strengthen us for what lies ahead. Let us be open to all that God offers so we in turn can offer all that we have!
watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on Palm Sunday 2021
Read the text:
Palm Sunday 2021 (Mar. 28, 2021)
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Palm Sunday, 2021, let us pray:
Almighty and ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Passion Gospel today is: Mark 14:1 — 15:47. I will not be reading the whole of the Passion, but an except for our reflection.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
While they were eating,
[Jesus] took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them,
“All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him,
“Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be.”
Then Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times.”
But he vehemently replied,
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And they all spoke similarly.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many reflections possible from the reading of the Passion of Jesus Christ. In this moment, I invite us to consider the great gift of the Eucharist – the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ – which he gave to us on the night before he died to save us from our sins. This is followed immediately in Mark’s Gospel with Jesus warning the Apostles, who had just partaken in the First Eucharist, that they would be too weak to endure the hours of agony and suffering ahead. Of course, they believed they were up to the challenge.
This brief passage, in a way, sums up what Holy Week is all about. God, in His great love, has given us His Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus, knowing our need for help in our spiritual life, feeds us with his very own Body and Blood. Yet, even as we receive this phenomenal gift, that should preserve us from every type of trial, when trials do come, we are often just as weak as the Apostles at that time. We scatter seeking quick peace and security rather than staying with Jesus through the Passion and Death. A literal foretaste of the life to come is not enough to keep us connected to Jesus!
Year after year we come to Holy Week, knowing exactly how things will unfold, prepared to follow Jesus through the Triduum of The Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, the Arrest and Torture, the Crucifixion, Death, and Burial, always looking forward to the Resurrection. Yet, most often it all happens as if we are merely observers and not participants. So that when a real-life trial comes and we are asked to carry our cross the same as Jesus, we often give in to the temptation to run from the pain and sacrifice, to save ourselves, hoping and praying that Jesus will just make things better without us needing really to surrender our lives as He did his.
We give in or give up because we fail to realize the real power of the Eucharist to help us bear the crosses of our lives. We think of the Eucharist as a joyous celebration of the Heavenly Life of Jesus, which in part it is. But for us, here and now, it is “food for the journey,” and “strength in times of trial.” Jesus gave us the Eucharist, not because he wanted to protect us from suffering, but because He knew none of us could make it through this life without His Body and Blood to transform us into more than our weak, sinful nature allows us to be. We cannot face the Passion without first having the Eucharist.
So, this Palm Sunday, as we prepare to face the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus, we are also preparing the face the real “passion” that takes place in each of our lives, to walk with Jesus now, so we can rise with Him in the end. None of us are expected to make it on our own, at least not by God, so we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus to succeed where others have failed, and experience the victory of Jesus because we experience His victory in our own lives.
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
Bow down for the blessing.
Look, we pray, O Lord, on this your family,
for whom our Lord Jesus Christ
did not hesitate to be delivered into the hands of the wicked
and submit to the agony of the Cross.
Who lives and reigns forever and ever. R/. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.