April 10, 2019
Today is among the most important liturgical days in the year; so listen to today’s scriptural readings very closely and absorb them into your very being! There is a great amount of salvation history in them that calls us to make today’s readings the core of our being.
At creation God initially created a beautiful, magnificent world/universe for us all but we chose to mess up, pollute, and contaminate it, making it something very ugly and sinful. There are many times in the Hebrew (“Old”) Testament scriptures where God tries to clean up this mess e.g., the Great Flood (and the Ark) but we stifled all this too. Over and over this seesaw went on until God decided (out of great love) to send His/Her Son, Jesus Christ to us. Today’s scripture readings have much to say as to how this was done. Patiently God “Started over and over” again until it was very clear that the only way God would reach us was to send the Son to us! And we would get the point finally only if this Son died (for us)!
Today’s liturgy has an extra reading, i.e., one more in addition to the usual regular first reading, a psalm response, a second reading and the Gospel which today is the narrative of Christ’s Passion. Such abundance of Scripture tells us today is a very special day; even more importantly, the content of the Scriptures today tell us what is essential in Christ’s salvation for each and all of us.
This extra reading deals with Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and in a real sense, it is a surprise reading when compared to the rest of the readings that are focused on the Passion. This reading is very important because it tells us the sacred story does not end with Christ’s passion and death but with His resurrection!
The First Reading (the regular one) is from Isaiah and deals with the suffering servant, a type pointing to Jesus Christ. A powerful line here is the following: “the Lord God has opened my ear and I was not rebellious” (I heard God!).
The Second Reading from Philippians stresses Christ (in the incarnation) takes on a human form; He emptied Himself and humbled Himself in obedience to death and God exalts Him in the Resurrection.
The Gospel today is the account of the Passion from Luke’s Gospel. Please listen very carefully to Luke’s Passion by observing the following rubrics as best you can.
- Be seated if this is more comfortable for you.
- Close your eyes so you can focus better.
- Make sure you continue breathing properly.
- Try to hear the story for the first time.
- In your listening, pictorially in your mind develop what the Word is describing. Concentrate on this.
- As the proclamation progresses, if you can, try to identify some of the groups of people (or characters) in the proclamation.
- Just before the proclamation, ask (quickly) the Holy Spirit to open up your heart and mind.
- Be convinced you are hearing the voice of the Risen Lord here.
- At the end, thank Christ deeply and quickly for all He has done for you and to save you.
- And Jesus did all this out of love for you and for me!...How valuable, then, each one of us is to God!
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” today’s responsorial psalm. Christ’s emptying of the self is very real and basic!