Today begins the celebration of our Lord's Paschal Mystery: his Passion and Resurrection.
One thing to consider as we celebrate "Palm Sunday". One thousand years before Jesus was born, the Israelites were in the bondage of slavery in Egypt. They had been there for 400 years.
God sent Moses, the Deliverer, to free the people from the bondage of slavery. You know the story; God performed the first 9 plagues to convince Pharaoh to free His people, but Pharaoh's heart was hardened. So God initiated the 10th plague, the death of all firstborn, and initiated the Passover of the Lord to protect the Israelites using the blood of a spotless male lamb. The people were to procure their lamb on a very specific day, and tie it up outside their homes for 5 days.
Today is the day that commemorates "Lamb Selection Day" of the Passover week; 5 days before the lamb was to be slaughtered. On this day 2000 years ago, the Jewish people knew that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was approaching the city of Jerusalem. They ran out to greet him, and welcomed him with Palm Branches, a Jewish symbol of freedom equivalent to our stars and stripes! They CHOSE THE LAMB OF GOD ON LAMB SELECTION DAY! They believed that Jesus was to be a military leader who would free them from the tyranny of the Romans. But, as we know, Jesus, the true Deliverer, wanted to free them, and us, from much more than that!
Throughout the coming week we will unfold the Passover story to show how everything Jesus did fulfilled the Passover, and gave us the New Passover; The Mass!
The readings of the day are listed below. Please read today's readings and spend time reflecting on them.
In Christ's Peace....
Matthew 21:1-11 (gospel read before congregation processes with palms)
Isaiah 50:4-7 - Prophecy uttered 500 years before Christ, fulfilled by Jesus during his passion
Psalm 22: Jesus recited this Psalm on the Cross; read the entire Psalm and note that it ends with a hymn of praise!
Philippians 2:6-11: Believed by scholars to be an early Christian Hymn used by Paul; describing how Jesus 'emptied himself' for us
Matthew Chapter 26:14 through Chapter 27:66