PASSION (PALM) SUNDAY ‑ CYCLE A
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 50:4‑7 FIRST READING
(“The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”)
- Where did the well‑trained tongue come from, to whom has he given it and for what reason has he been given a well‑trained tongue? Isaiah 50:4
- When and what does he open, that we may hear? Isaiah 50:4
- What has he not done? Isaiah 50:5
- What happens to those that rebel? 1 Samuel 12:15
- What did the servant do to those who beat him and plucked his beard? Isaiah 50:6
- From what did he not shield his face? Isaiah 50:6, Matthew 26:67 and 27:30
- Who is the servant’s help and how has he set his face? Isaiah 50:7
- What does the servant know? Isaiah 50:7
Personal ‑ When do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is he saying to you? In what way, by using a well‑trained tongue, do you rouse the weary in your own household? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can train your tongue.
THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 2:6‑11 SECOND READING
(“Jesus Christ is Lord.”)
- What must be your attitude? Philippians 2:5
- Of who was he in the form? Philippians 2:6
- Who is Christ? John 1:1, 14
- What was something at which he did not grasp? Phil. 2:6
- Rather, of what did he become empty, and why? Phil. 2:7, 2 Corinthians 8:9
- What form did he take and in whose likeness was he born, and of what was he known to be? Philippians 2:7
- What two things did he do in verse 8 of Philippians 2?
- For what reason did he do the above two things? Hebrews 2:14‑17
- Because he humbled himself and accepted death on the cross, what two things did God do for him? Philippians 2:9
- What must every knee do, in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, at the name of Jesus and what must every tongue proclaim? Philippians 2:10‑11
- What does this tell you beyond a doubt? Acts 2:36
- For whose glory is this proclaimed (Phil. 2:11) and what will happen to you if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Romans 10:9
- Who gives you the power to say “Jesus is Lord?” 1 Cor. 12:3
Personal ‑ In what way is your attitude that of Christ? In what way have you humbled yourself? What cross have you obediently accepted? Read Mark 8:34 and meditate on this.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 26:14‑27:66 GOSPEL
(“For this is my blood, the blood of the covenant,
to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”)
- Who went to the chief priest, what did he ask them and what were they willing to pay him to betray and hand Jesus over to them? Matthew 26:14‑16
- What was paid to the owner for a gored slave? Ex 21:32
- What did the disciples ask Jesus on the first day of the feast of the unleavened bread and what did he say to them? Matthew 26:17‑18
- What did Jesus call himself and who prepared the Passover supper? Matt 26:18‑19
- When it grew dark and in the course of the meal what did Jesus say to his disciples, how did they feel, and what was their response? Matthew 26: 20‑25
- During the meal, what did Jesus do and say about the bread? Matthew 26:26
- What did he do with the cup, who did he say must drink from it, for what reason and what did they do after this was said? Matthew 26:27‑30
- From what did Jesus quote, what did he say to them, and what was Peter’s response and all the other disciples? Matthew 26:31‑35, Zechariah 13:7
Personal ‑ In what way have you drunk from the cup of Jesus’ blood? Hebrews 9:22 says “According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Reflect on this.
- Where did Jesus go with his disciples and what did he say to them? Matthew 26:36
- Who did he take with him, what did he do and who did he address? Matthew 26:37‑39
- What did Jesus pray to his Father, how many times did he say this to him and what were the disciples doing? Matt 26:39‑46
- While Jesus was still speaking, who arrived, who sent them, and how did his betrayer signal them? Matthew 26:47‑48
- How was this fulfilled, what did Peter do, and what did Jesus say about this? Matthew 26:49‑56
- After they apprehended Jesus, where did they take him; where was Peter, and what were the chief priests trying to obtain? Matthew 26:57‑60
- When two came forward, what did they declare; what was the high priest’s reaction, how did Jesus act, and what was the verdict? Matthew 26:61‑66
- What did they do to Jesus? Matthew 26:67‑68
- Where was Peter, what did he do, how many times did he do this and what did he do on hearing a cock crow? Matthew 26:69‑75
Personal ‑ How do you act when things get tough in your home or work environment? Do you keep your eyes on Jesus and stand firm with him or do you keep your eyes on your circumstances?
- What happened at daybreak, what was the fate of Jesus’ betrayer and what happened to the thirty pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed him? Matthew 27:1‑10
- When Jesus was arraigned before the procurator, what was said and what was his reaction? Matthew 27:11‑14
- What were they accustomed to doing on this occasion of a festival, who was Barabbas, what did Pilate say to them, and what did Pilate’s wife say? Matthew 27:15‑19
- What was the chief priest doing, what was the result and why did Pilate wash his hands? Matthew 27:20‑26
- Who sentenced Jesus to death? Matthew 27:2, 26
- What did they do next and of what was Jesus’ crown made? Matthew 27:27‑31
- On their way out, who did they meet, what did he do, where did they arrive, and what did they try to give him to drink? Matthew 27:32‑34
- When they crucified him, what did they do with his clothes, what did they put above his head, who was on each side of him and what were the people doing? Matthew 27:35‑44
- Where was Jesus when people cried out, “He saved others but he cannot save himself?” Matthew 27:40‑42
- While Jesus hung on the cross what was over all the land? Matthew 27:45
- Complete Jesus’ words from the cross ‑ “My God, My God _________________________________________________. ” Matthew 27:46
- When Jesus said these words, what did some of the bystanders say? Matthew 27:47
- What happened to the curtain in the sanctuary, the earth, and the bodies of the saints? Matthew 27:51‑53
- What was the reaction of the centurion and his men and who looked on from a distance? Matthew 27:54‑56
- Who was another of Jesus’ disciples, what did he do and what sealed the mouth of Jesus’ grave? Matthew 27:57‑61
- What happened the next day, what did Pilate tell them, and what did they fix on the stone? Matthew 27:62‑66
Personal ‑ In what way has the shedding of Jesus’ blood affected your life? This week, in preparation for Easter, reflect on the cleansing blood of Jesus in your life.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 22:8‑9, 17‑20, 23‑24
(“They have pierced my hands and my feet.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 22:8‑9, 17‑20, 23‑24.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The source of strength and courage for all suffering, trial and tribulations is the suffering and death of our divine Lord Jesus Christ. We need to hold fast to him when the world closes in with its assault, rejection and abandonment. He not only traveled this same road before the saints of old, but he travels it today, constantly waiting to be with us in our suffering. His suffering and death opened the road to heaven for all of us, even though many refuse the gift. He gave up everything for us, and he gave us love, trust, hope, respect, eternal life. In return he was spat upon, ridiculed, beaten, jeered, scourged and mocked. He finally was executed on Calvary by being nailed to a cross between two criminals.
This is a day of reflection. We are about to enter holy week. Let us not forget the actions and words of Isaiah’s suffering servant. We need to reflect how fast the crowd changed from adoring him to rejecting him. He took up his cross for us; I need to remember that I, too, am called to carry my cross for others as Christ did. Sometimes we think our cross is too heavy, or that it is unfair to carry such a heavy cross. How heavy is your cross compared to Christ’s? How is your Calvary compared to Jesus’ Calvary?
Paul tells us that our attitudes should be like that of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5). He describes putting on the attitude of a servant rather than that of a king. Jesus though being God, did not demand his rights and privileges of royalty. He deliberately set them all aside and took on the role of a servant. There lies the incredible formula of a successful leader.
Jesus, a true leader serves all of us. He showed us that putting others first and being humble was the only way a person can become a real leader. The sheep followed the shepherd because they trusted him. People will follow a leader if they know that he has their welfare at heart. Jesus showed us everything of God’s character in human terms. He was obedient even unto death, and the type of death the Father chose for him was extremely painful.
Jesus is the perfect role model for us today. How many times do we demand our rights when we feel we are being treated less than fairly? The name of Jesus should bring to every Christian the name of a person who willingly died so that all could be free. He died for us knowing very well that we are sinners (Romans 5:8). Jesus voluntarily laid aside his divine rights, privileges, and position out of love for his Father. We, too, are called to lay aside our rights and privileges for our oppressed brothers and sisters in the Holy Name of Jesus.
The coming of the Messiah was a dream that the Jews envisioned for many, many centuries. They visioned the Messiah as one who would deliver the Jews from the tyranny of the pagan government that was ruling at the time. Judas wasn’t any different when he saw that possibility grow during the ministry of Jesus. The major difference, in what Judas hoped for and what was really happening, was that Jesus did not intend to bring a new and more powerful government to the people.
Judas expected to be on the inside of something really big. Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. He only promised eternal life to all those who believe in him. He said he was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:1‑6). Judas finally realized that Jesus’ kingdom was not physical or political, but spiritual.
Many people today are being told that if they accept Jesus they will become handsome, beautiful, prosperous and healthy. That is not what Jesus promised. He told us that we have to pick up our cross and carry it daily. He told us that we would be persecuted in his name. He told us not to be concerned about what we wear and what we eat. He told us that if we are to rise with him we need to die with him also.
We are called to die to ourselves. We are called to put him on the throne of our lives. This is difficult to accept, because all honor and glory belongs to him and not to us. We can only do this when we are obedient to his Holy Word. The people shouted death, death, death to our Lord Jesus at the meeting of the Sanhedrin. Jesus was convicted of committing the sin of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death. They not only rejected his claim but even crucified him on Calvary. You need to decide today, whether Jesus’ Words are blasphemy, or truth. The result of your decision is eternal.
The first reading showed us that suffering can lead to obedience. The second reading shows that humility is the cornerstone of leadership. And the Gospel tells us that suffering for something that you didn’t do and showing humility in your actions calls for a spirituality that only Jesus can give.
This week, look around and see if you can be helpful and set an example of Christ to someone who is suffering. This could be your spouse, your children or someone at work.