Passion Sunday: the sheep scatter

Jesus arrestedJesus Predicts Desertion and Promises Reunion (26:30b-35) The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

One of the curious “tests” that some scholars apply to a passage regarding “authenticity” (by which they really mean historicity) is “would it embarrass the early church?” If it would, then it must be so “authentic” and compelling that the sacred writer includes it even though it is embarrassing. Jesus’ prediction that all the disciples would abandon him in his hour does not reflect well on the future leaders of the nascent Christian movement. Continue reading

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Palm Sunday of the Passion: a last meal

Altar-1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Jesus Inaugurates the Eucharist (26:26-30a) As Joachim Jeremias and other scholars have shown in looking at all the received Eucharistic traditions (Paul in 1 Corinthians and the synoptic gospel writers), Jesus follows the form and outline of the Passover Seder. The thanksgiving over the bread and the cup recorded in vv. 26 and 27 will therefore be a regular part of the main section of the Passover meal (making this the third of the four cups of the Passover), and we may reasonably assume that Jesus used the traditional words of thanksgiving. But it worthwhile to point out that said the blessing refers to blessing God, not blessing the bread. Continue reading

Palm Sunday of the Passion: betrayer and betrayed

Entry_Into_Jerusalem1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Commentary. This very long narrative will be broken into small passages that may help the reader to focus and reflect on specific sections. The general outline listed in the previous post is provided for you to locate these smaller passages within the larger framework. The narrow framework is taken from Boring’s outline of the Matthean Passion narrative. Continue reading

Palm Sunday of the Passion: context

Entry_Into_Jerusalem1Context. The climactic events that have been repeatedly predicted since the Galilean ministry are now about to unfold (12:38–40; 16:4, 21; 17:12, 22–23; 20:17–19; 21:38–39; 23:32). Jesus was aware of the forces arrayed against him (26:2), yet he did not resist doing the will of the Father despite the suffering that would be involved (26:36–46). Ironically, the very religious leaders who opposed and sought to destroy Jesus were the unwitting instruments God used to fulfill his plan to exalt Jesus. Continue reading

Letting things rummage around

holyweekBack in the day, before becoming a Franciscan, back when the rhythm of my day was set by clients, projects, and things of the workplace, I let a different pattern take hold for Holy Week. I always took vacation. I took time off to relax, visit people, take long bike rides and decompress so I would be ready to celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.

But you know what? I have to admit, I did not pay a lot of attention to Palm Sunday. I wonder if I went to Mass and then to the office to clear up last minute things to make sure the week was free. Yet today is the gateway to Holy Week. Continue reading

Passion Sunday: the sheep scatter

Jesus arrestedJesus Predicts Desertion and Promises Reunion (26:30b-35) The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

One of the curious “tests” that some scholars apply to a passage regarding “authenticity” (by which they really mean historicity) is “would it embarrass the early church?” If it would, then it must be so “authentic” and compelling that the sacred writer includes it even though it is embarrassing. Jesus’ prediction that all the disciples would abandon him in his hour does not reflect well on the future leaders of the nascent Christian movement.

The NSRV says “You will all become deserters [skandallisthēsesthe]…” – and though it more literally means to “fall away” “be caused to stumble” – there is something scandalous that will shake their faith to the very core. This the word that Matthew uses to describe the hometown folk, the Pharisees, and those who profess belief in Jesus but who stumble when the world or persecution arises on account of Jesus’ word (13:21). Continue reading

Passion Sunday: A last meal

Altar-1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Jesus Inaugurates the Eucharist (26:26-30a) As Joachim Jeremias and other scholars have shown in looking at all the received Eucharistic traditions (Paul in 1 Corinthians and the synoptic gospel writers), Jesus follows the form and outline of the Passover Seder. The thanksgiving over the bread and the cup recorded in vv. 26 and 27 will therefore be a regular part of the main section of the Passover meal (making this the third of the four cups of the Passover), and we may reasonably assume that Jesus used the traditional words of thanksgiving. But it worthwhile to point out that said the blessing refers to blessing God, not blessing the bread. Continue reading

Passion Sunday: betrayer and betrayed

Entry_Into_Jerusalem1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Commentary. This very long narrative will be broken into small passages that may help the reader to focus and reflect on specific sections. The general outline listed in the previous post is provided for you to locate these smaller passages within the larger framework. The narrow framework is taken from Boring’s outline of the Matthean Passion narrative. Continue reading

Passion Sunday: context

Entry_Into_Jerusalem1Context. The climactic events that have been repeatedly predicted since the Galilean ministry are now about to unfold (12:38–40; 16:4, 21; 17:12, 22–23; 20:17–19; 21:38–39; 23:32). Jesus was aware of the forces arrayed against him (26:2), yet he did not resist doing the will of the Father despite the suffering that would be involved (26:36–46). Ironically, the very religious leaders who opposed and sought to destroy Jesus were the unwitting instruments God used to fulfill his plan to exalt Jesus. Continue reading