Palm Sunday of the Passion ~ The Last Days of Jesus

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday of the Passion ~ March 29, 2015

Dear Friends,

All is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.   The drama of the Paschal Mystery will  be re-enacted  once again in  parishes throughout the world.  I have loved the liturgy of Holy Week since I was a boy and in this blog I hope I can share that love with you.    We’ll go deep here.  Please take time to reflect.  Come with me now, won’t you?

Jesus entered the holy city Jerusalem on a humble beast of burden ~ himself burdened with the sins of the world.  Here’s the gospel story . . . .

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ reply,
‘The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.’”
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
“What are you doing, untying the colt?”
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
“Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!”  (Mark 11:1-10)

Thus, as William Barclay, the great Presbyterian scripture scholar that I quoted last week, notes, what Jesus was about to do was a deliberate, planned action on his part, this would begin the last act in the drama of his life.  The whole city of Jerusalem was awash with lambtopvisitors in preparation for the Passover.  Barclay also notes that thirty years later a Roman governor had taken a census of the number of lambs slain for Passover and noted that number to be about a quarter of a million. Now, Passover regulation stated that a party of a minimum of ten are required for each lamb which meant that there were about two and a half million people in Jerusalem at the time Jesus entered the holy city!  

The crowd receives Jesus like a king.  They spread their cloaks in front of him.  They cut down and waved palm branches (and that is why we bless and distribute palms and this day is known universally as Palm Sunday.)

They greeted him as they would a pilgrim, Barclay notes: “Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord.” 

They  shouted, “Hosanna!”  The word means, “Save now!”  and that was a cry that a people addressed to their king or their god.   (Interesting ~ I didn’t know that!)

So, we see that Jesus action here was planned and deliberate, similar to those of the prophets of old who would put their message into a dramatic act  that people could not fail  to see or understand.  Jesus action here was clearly a Messianic claim, or at least when a few days later he would be the cleanser of the Temple, an even more dramatic act in which he was to rid the Temple of the abuses that defiled it and its worship.  

To conclude, then, Barclay had made three points about this story . . .

+  It shows Jesus’ courage.  He knew he was entering a hostile city.  All through his last days, there is in his every action a “magnificent and sublime defiance”~”a flinging down the gauntlet .”   

+  It shows us his claim to be God’s Messiah, God’s Anointed One. And the cleanser of the temple.  

+  It shows us his appeal ~ not a kingship of the throne, but a kingship of the heart.

Lord Jesus, here we are at the beginning of Holy Week once again.

We raise our palms,

singing our Hosannas!

We listen to the story of your sacred passion and death.

And now we learn that You really meant it!  

You weren’t just pretending to be human;

You immersed Yourself in our misery,

You got down in the muck with us

~ accepting it all, even death on a cross.  

Jesus, help us to embrace our humility,

our poverty, our brokenness, our share in Your cross.  

May this Holy Week truly be holy for us

so that we too will rise again with You to new life

and receive anew the gift of the Spirit.  

To You, Lord Jesus, be glory and honor forever! Amen.

Before you go, dear friends, here is a beautiful song performed by some very devout young people ~ “Behold the Lamb of God”. Be sure to enter full screen.  Have a fruitful Holy Week.  I will publish again throughout the week. 

Here are the today’s Mass readings. Click here.  To get back to this page, go to the top left corner of your computer screen, click on  the  < back arrow, and you’ll be right back here. I encourage you to prayerfully read the entire passion story according to Mark.  I have also provided you a commentary on this gospel (and also the other readings), if you’d like to reflect on them further. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

img_04271

William Barclay: The Daily Study Bible Series / The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2 ~ Revised Edition       The Westminster Press ~ Philadelphia 1975

 

Palm Sunday ~ The Last Days of Jesus

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday / April 13, 2014

Dear Friends,

All is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.   The drama of the Paschal Mystery will  be re-enacted  once again in  parishes throughout the world.  I have loved the liturgy of Holy Week since I was a boy and in this blog I hope I can share that love with you.    We’ll go deep here.  Please take time to reflect.  Come  with me now, won’t you?

Jesus entered the holy city Jerusalem on a humble beast of burden ~ himself burdened with the sins of the world.  Here’s the gospel story . . . .

When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of

Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite

you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her.

Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to

you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.”

This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be

fulfilled: “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and

riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” The disciples

went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt

and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd

spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and

strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following

kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who

comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered

Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds

replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”   

Thus, what Jesus was about to do was a deliberate, planned action on his part, the last act in the drama of the life of Jesus, as William Barclay the great Presbyterian scripture scholar that I quoted in last week notes. The whole city of Jerusalem was awash with lambtopvisitors in preparation for the Passover.  Barclay notes that thirty years later a Roman governor had taken a census of the number of lambs slain for Passover and noted it to be about a quarter of a million. Now, Passover regulation stated that a party of a minimum of ten are required for each lamb which meant that there were about two and a half million people in Jerusalem at the time Jesus entered the holy city!  

The crowd receives Jesus like a king.  They spread their cloaks in front of him.  They cut down and waved palm branches (and that is why we bless and distribute palms and this day is known universally as Palm Sunday.)

They greeted him as they would a pilgrim, Barclay notes: “Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord.” 

They  shouted,  “Hosanna!”  The word means, “Save now!”  and that was a cry that a people addressed to their king or their god.   (Interesting ~ I didn’t know that!)

So, we see that Jesus action here was planned and deliberate, similar to those of the prophets of old who would put their message into a dramatic act  that people could not fail  to see or understand.  Jesus action here was clearly a Messianic claim, or at least, the cleanser of the Temple, an even more dramatic act in which he was to rid the Temple of the abuses that defiled it and its worship a few days later.  

To conclude, then, Barclay had made three points about this story . . .

+  It shows Jesus’ courage.  He knew he was entering a hostile city.  All through his last days, there is in his every action a “magnificent and sublime defiance”~”a flinging down the gauntlet .” (Barclay)  

+  It shows us his claim to be God’s Messiah, God’s Anointed One. And the cleanser of the temple.  

+  It shows us his appeal ~ not a kingship of the throne, but a kingship of the heart.

Lord Jesus, here we are at the beginning of Holy Week once again.

We raise our palms,

singing Hosannas!

we listen to the story of your sacred passion and death.

And now we learn that You really meant it!  

You weren’t just pretending to be human;

You immersed Yourself in our misery,

You got down int the muck with us

~ accepting it all, even death on a cross.  

Jesus, help us to embrace our humility,

our poverty, our brokenness, our share in Your cross.  

May this Holy Week truly be holy for us

so that we too will rise again with You to new life

and receive anew the gift of the Spirit.  

To You, Lord Jesus, be glory and honor forever! Amen.

Here are the todays’s Mass readings. Click here.  To get back to this page, go to the top left corner of your computer screen, click on  the  < back arrow, and you’ll be right back here.

Before you go, dear friends, here is a beautiful song performed by some very devout young people ~ “Behold the Lamb of God”. Be sure to enter full screen.  Have a fruitful Holy Week.  I will publish again throughout the week. 

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

img_04271

William Barclay / The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 2 ~ Revised Edition                                                               \ The Westminster Press ~ Philadelphia 1975

Palm Sunday ~ The Humility of Jesus

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday / March 24th, 2013

Dear Friends,

All is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.   the drama of the Paschal Mystery will  be re-enacted  once again in  parishes throughout the world.  I have loved the liturgy of Holy Week since I was a boy and in this blog I hope I can share that love with you.    We’ll go deep here.  Please take time to reflect.  Come  with me now, won’t you?

Jesus entered the holy city Jerusalem on a humble beast of burden–himself burdened with the sins of the world.  He was focused on his Father’s will and utter obedience to him.  St. Paul captures all of that for us in the first reading of this day’s Mass in Philippians 2:1-11 . . .

5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited, 
7 but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, 
8   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross.  (NRSV)

Father Johannes Metz wrote a little book in 1968 called Poverty of Spirit that I liked a lot in which he says, “To become human means to become ‘poor’ to have nothing that one can brag about before God.  To become human means to have no support and no power, save the enthusiasm and commitment of one’s own heart.”

Become poor? No power?  We Americans would not buy that at all!   But I was fortunate to have two wonderful mentors in my life who were ~ well ~ just human.  They were not afraid to be just who they were, warts and all.  They were delightful human beings.  

The first one was the rector of my seminary, Father Eugene Walsh whom I was privileged to know personally over the years.  We called him Geno.  I told a story about him in a recent blog about how he affirmed me.   The second was my Bishop,  Bishop Norbert Dorsey whom I got to know when we lived together in the cathedral rectory in Miami for nearly a year. We used to sit up and watch Hawaii Five-0 together.  He, too, was always just who he was, without pretense. Simply ~ human. He died a few weeks ago from a long bout with cancer but I had a chance to express my love for him. 

And now,we’ve all gotten to know a fellow from Argentina who has become Pope Francis who insists on being just who he is!  Isn’t wonderful?  But he will pay the price for it.  Several journalists took note of his down to earth qualities, his humility.

Now back to  Jesus.  He didn’t exploit his equality with God as so many of us would; he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. Why did he do that? 

Father Metz explains:  “Jesus held back nothing; he clung to nothing, and nothing served as a shield for him.

Satan wants to make Jesus strong . . . Satan fears [ . . .] an open human heart that will remain true to its native poverty, suffer the misery and abandonment that is humanity’s, and thus save humankind.

Satan always tries to stress the spiritual strength of human beings and our divine character and has done this from the beginning:  ‘You will be like God.’

Instead, Jesus subjected himself to our plight. He immersed himself in our misery and followed our road to the end.  He did not escape from the torment of our life. . .  With the full weight of his divinity he descended into the abyss of human existence, penetrating into its darkest depths.

Have we really understood the impoverishment that Christ endured?  Everything was taken from him during the passion, even the love that drove him to the cross. . . His heart gave out and a feeling of utter helplessness came over him.  Truly he emptied himself . . . . He became utterly poor.

[Thus] he accepted our humanity, he took on and endured our lot, he stepped down from his divinity.  He came to us where we really are ~ with all our broken dreams and lost hopes, with the meaning of existence slipping through our fingers.

He came and stood with us, struggling with his whole heart to have us say ‘yes’ to our innate poverty.

[God’s faithfulness] to us is what gives us the courage to be true to ourselves.

And the legacy of God’s total commitment to humankind, the proof of God’s fidelity to our poverty, is the Cross. [The Cross is the sacrament, the sign] that one human being remained true to his own humanity, that he accepted it in full obedience.”

Thus each of us have the opportunity to embrace our poverty,  to accept whatever brokenness shows up in our own lives and find the treasure buried within.

But this goes against the grain for us in American life.  We are told to keep up with the Joneses.  To strive for Power, Prestige, Possessions.

This is not the way of Jesus.

And this cannot be the way of a true follower of Christ.  We are to have the same mind as Christ. And once we have embraced our humility, our poverty, our weakness, and not denied our brokenness we will realize that we, too, will be exalted as Jesus was (is.)

(Realize that the word “Humility” comes from the word “Humus” ~ “muck.”)

Lord Jesus, here we are at the beginning of Holy Week once again.

We raise our palms,

singing Hosannas!

we listen to the story of your sacred passion and death.

And now we learn that You really meant it!  

You weren’t just pretending to be human;

You immersed Yourself in our misery,

You got down int the muck with us

~ accepting it all, even death on a cross.  

Jesus, help us to embrace our humility,

our poverty, our brokenness, our share in Your cross.  

May this Holy Week truly be holy for us

so that we too will rise again with You to new life

and receive anew the gift of the Spirit.  

To You, Lord Jesus, be glory and honor forever! Amen.

Before you go, dear friends, here is a beautiful song performed by some very devout young people ~ “Behold the Lamb of God”.  Be sure to enter full screen.  Have a fruitful Holy Week.  I will publish again later in the week.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer


Palm Sunday ~ The humility of Jesus

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday / April 1, 2012

Dear Friends,

All is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.  The stage is set for the drama of the Paschal Mystery to be re-enacted in the parishes throughout the world.   There are parishes around which are filled with life.  I hope you can find one.

There’s a parish south of Fort Lauderdale, St. Maurice in Davie, that  has been doing liturgy well and devotedly for many years.  People there are alive, spontaneous, welcoming.  Their eyes sparkle with joy ~  in this neighborhood with many elderly folks. img_0422

As I participated in the liturgy of Palm Sunday , I pondered Jesus’ humility and am grateful that he whittled my aberrant ego down to size.   Philippians today says Jesus “emptied himself of his equality with God and became obedient even unto death.”

I know what humiliation feels like; After a while, it made me humble.  I am a marginalized person with a mental illness and other things. But I rejoice I have found my way to a home here in north Lauderdale’s  Cypress Chase A condominium, as an ordinary person.

As the crowds hailed him as King and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! and threw cloaks and palm branches at his feet, I wonder what he was thinking.  He surely knew that the end was near.  What was his prayer as he looked into the faces of the crowd of well-wishers who would abandon him a few days later when the going got rough?

Here’s the link for Mass readings Palm Sunday.

My prayer this Holy Week is two-fold:

First, the renewal of the priesthood that I find sadly in disarray these days.  Reflecting on Hebrews this week I had a renewed sense of the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood.  He was to stand in the breach and offer his own life as sacrifice.  I pray that we priests would do the same ~ to heroically offer our own selves as gift for the people we have been ordained to shepherd.

I understand the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood more fully, more personally ~ and I commit myself to this charge and ideal ~ to  help our people find the meaning that will inspire all of us, church and society to be purified, cleansed and made holy.

This  in the midst of the messiness of of our economy

of our own personal and family life

of the superficiality, the unreality and lack of moral courage in American culture today

and yes, the messiness of our church.

I unite myself as I have for many years with my priest/brothers who bear the heat of the day.  I will pray for you, for us, fully and richly this week.

And secondly, I continue to pray for the transformation of America.  We have to return to being One Nation Under God.

The humble man who rode into his city on a donkey, not a stunning white stallion as a mighty conqueror is the Jesus I know and love.  I need to follow his way.  img_04271

Lord Jesus,

may we slow down our activity this Holy Week

to unite ourselves in your high priestly prayer

for the reconciliation of the world.

May we be wiling to give of ourselves and accept our crosses

as a way of building up Your kingdom of love here in our world today.

Hosanna to You, the Son of David!

Before you go, here is a beautiful song performed by some very devout young people ~ “Behold the Lamb of God”.  Be sure to enter full screen.  Have a fruitful Holy Week.  I will publish again later in the week.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer


Palm Sunday ~ The humility of Jesus

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday / April 17, 2011

Dear Friends,

All is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.  The stage is set for the drama of the Paschal Mystery to be re-enacted in the parishes throughout the world.   There are parishes around which are filled with life.  I hope you can find one.

I have found a parish south of Fort Lauderdale, St. Maurice in Davie, which  has been doing liturgy well and devotedly for many years.  People there are alive, spontaneous, welcoming.  Their eyes sparkle with joy ~  in this neighborhood with many elderly folks. img_0422

As I participated in the liturgy of Palm Sunday , I pondered Jesus’ humility and am grateful that he whittled my aberrant ego down to size.   Philippians today says Jesus “emptied himself of his equality with God and became obedient even unto death.”

I know what humiliation feels like; After a while, it made me humble.  I am a marginalized person with a mental illness and other things. But I rejoice I have found my way to a home here in Cypress Chase A condominium, as an ordinary person.

As the crowds hailed him as King and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! and threw cloaks and palm branches at his feet, I wonder what he was thinking.  He surely knew that the end was near.  What was his prayer as he looked into the faces of the crowd of well-wishers who would abandon him a few days later when the going got rough?

Here’s the link for Mass readings Palm Sunday.

My prayer this Holy Week is two-fold:

First, the renewal of the priesthood which I find sadly in disarray these days.  Reflecting on Hebrews this week I had a renewed sense of the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood.  He was to stand in the breach and offer his own life as sacrifice.  I pray that we priests would do the same ~ to heroically offer our own selves as gift for the people we have been ordained to shepherd.

I understand the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood more fully, more personally ~ and I commit myself to this charge and ideal ~ to  help our people find the meaning that will inspire all of us, church and society to be purified, cleansed and made holy.

This  in the midst of the messiness of of our economy

of our own personal and family life

of the superficiality, the unreality and lack of moral courage in American culture today

and yes, the messiness of our church.

I unite myself as I have for many years with my priest/brothers who bear the heat of the day.  I will pray for you, for us, fully and richly this week.

And secondly, I continue to pray for the transformation of America.  This economic crisis is, in fact, an answer to my prayer in some ways because the shock of it might wake us up before we go over the cliff .  We have to return to being One Nation Under God.

The humble man who rode into his city on a donkey, not a stunning white stallion as a mighty conqueror is the Jesus I know and love.  I need to follow his way.  img_04271

Lord Jesus,

allow us to slow down our activity this Holy Week

to unite ourselves in your high priestly prayer

for the reconciliation of the world.

May we be wiling to give of ourselves and accept our crosses

as a way of building up Your kingdom of love here in our world today.

Hosanna to You, the Son of David!

Before you go, here is a beautiful song performed by some very devout young people ~ “Behold the Lamb of God”.  Be sure to enter full screen.  Have a fruitful Holy Week.  I will publish again later in the week.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer


The Passion of Jesus 2009

palm_sunday-1

Palm Sunday / April 5, 2009

Dear Friends,

This has been one of the most powerful and fruitful experiences of Lent that I’ve had in many years.  I am sure that is partly due to the retreat I made at the beginning of Lent to ponder the meaning of my priesthood.   I have sunk more deeply into  the scriptures as the Jesus I know and love came even more alive for me.  I wanted to share more of that with you, but I must accept my limitations.  All in due time.   I have no official ministry as I am “retired” (I hate that word), I am available “to do what love requires,” like receiving  Augie into my home.   We have just spent an hour to prepare for Holy Week together.   I try to be present to a little flock  and press on  trying to develop a more regular online presence. This past week I was beset with all kinds of tech problems that are making my Holy Week Arise late.

Nevertheless, all is ready now for the final days of our Lenten journey with Jesus.  The stage is set for the drama of the Paschal Mystery to be re-enacted in the parishes throughout the world.  Some will do it with love and devotion and emotion and creatively so that people can really be touched anew and unite themselves with the Passion of Jesus as it continues in our world 2009.   Others will do it without care, almost because they have to be bothered.  This is the church in disarray that brings great sadness to my heart.  But there are parishes around which are filled with life.  I hope you can find one.

Augie and I have found a parish south of Fort Lauderdale, St. Maurice in Davie, which  has been doing liturgy well and devotedly for many years.  People there are alive, spontaneous, welcoming.  Their eyes sparkle with joy and life — and this in a neighborhood of many old people. img_0422 I find this such a contrast to the parish I attended before I moved here, humbly sitting in the pew, even as they complain about the shortage of priests.   There were few smiles, very little light in peoples’ eyes.   I know the church can come back to life.  And I am determined to stay and pray and work and write  for a new Pentecost.  I believe in the gospel and and I am just trying to do the very little I can to share it and let it come to life in peoples’ hearts.

As I participated in the liturgy of Palm Sunday , I pondered Jesus’ humility and am grateful that he whittled my aberrant ego down to size.    I know what humiliation feels like; I am a marginalized person with a mental illness and other things. But I rejoice Ihave found my way to a home here in Cypress Chase A condominium, as an ordinary person.

As the crowds hailed him as King and shouted “Hosanna to the Son f David! and threw cloaks and palm branches at his feet, I wonder what he was thinking.  He surely knew that the end was near.  What was his prayer as he looked into the faces of the crowd of well-wishers who would abandon him a few days later when the going got rough.

My prayer this Holy Week is two-fold:

First, the renewal of the priesthood which I find sadly in disarray these days.  Reflecting on Hebrews this week I had a renewed sense of the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood.  He was to stand in the breach and offer his own life as sacrifice.  I pray that we priests would do the same — to heroically offer our own selves as gift for the people we have been ordained to shepherd.  I understand the meaning of Jesus as priest more fully, more personally — and I commit myself to this charge and ideal — to  help our people find the meaning that will inspire all of us, church and society to be purified, cleansed and made holy.  This  in the midst of the messiness of of our economy / of our own personal and family life / of the superficiality, the unreality and lack of moral courage in American culture today /and yes, the messiness of our church.  I unite myself as I have for many years with my priest/brothers who bear the heat of the day.  I will pray for you, for us, intensely this week.

And secondly, I continue to pray for the transformation of America. The post that follows this one is a reprise of the one I broadcast from the Christ in the Desert Monestary in New Mexico a year ago.  Today, I give thanks that my prayer has been answered in many ways.  This economic crisis is, in fact, an answer to my prayer because the shock of it might wake us up before we go over the cliff .  We have to return to being One Nation Under God.  Specifically, I invite you, Christian,  to turn any hatred you have toward Mr. Obama to loving prayer that the Holy Spirit will  guide the journey of his mind and heart  to become one who understand at support the sacredness of all human life.  It happened to St. Paul; it can happen again.  It is love that transforms.  It is love — and only love — which is what Jesus is all about.

The humble man who rode into his city on a donkey, not a stunning white stallion as a mighty conqueror is the Jesus I know and love.img_04271

Lord Jesus,

allow us to slow down our activity this Holy Week 2009

to unite ourselves in your high priestly prayer

for the reconciliation of the world.

May we be wiling to give of ourselves and accept our crosses

as a way of building up Your kingdom of love here in our world today.

Hosanna to You, the Son of David!
Bob Traupman

priest / writer