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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017 Palm Sunday

Judges, Chapter 8, Verse 19-20
19They were my brothers, my mother’s sons,” he said. “As the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20Then he said to his firstborn, Jether, “Go, kill them.” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, for he was still a boy.

Gideon Ushers In a Golden Age[1]

·         Gideon's army continues to pursue the fleeing Midianites, led by their kings Zebah and Zalmunna.
·         They pass through the towns of Succoth and Penuel, and both refuse to give food to Gideon's army. This is rude, and Gideon promises he'll make them pay when he's done with Zebah and Zalmunna.
·         His army defeats Midian and captures Z&Z.
·         On their way back, Gideon captures a young man from Succoth, who identifies the elders and princes of the city that were so inhospitable before.
·         Gideon beats them with thorns and briars. That'll teach them!
·         He also returns to Penuel and breaks down their tower and kills the men of the city. Seriously—don't mess with Gideon.
·         While interrogating Z&Z, Gideon finds out that they killed his brethren in Tabor. Their life expectancy suddenly plummets dramatically.
·         Gideon tells his oldest son, Jether, to kill these fools. Jether is still just a boy, though, and he doesn't want to.
·         Z&Z say, "You know what, Gid? Why don't you do the honors? You're stronger anyway" (see KJV 8:21).
·         So he does, and he takes the ornaments from their camels' necks because, hey, free camel jewelry.
·         Israel asks Gideon to be their king, and his sons after him, because he's delivered them from Midian.
·         Gideon refuses, and tells them that the Lord will be their king.

Jether was still a boy when asked by his father to continue the cycle of violence. Sometimes children are wiser than parents. Children instinctively know that being fair starts with understanding your own shortcomings and listening to that small voice of conscience.
The reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) knew this and stated:

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”[2]
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  (Mt. 26:52)


Passion Week Timeline[3]

Sunday
April 9
  • Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem
  • Spends the night in Bethany
Palm Sunday[4]

The church today commemorates Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and the account of His Passion according to St. Matthew.

Why is this day called Palm Sunday? 1. In memory of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when He was received by the devout people with palms. 2. Because the Church to-day blesses palms, with which a solemn procession is held.

Why are the palms blessed?1. To protect in body and soul those who carry them with devotion. 2. To bless the dwellings into which the palms are brought. 3. To bring before us how God, by the entrance into Jerusalem with palms, has represented the victory of Jesus over the prince of darkness. Our Savior, and says, “O Lord, remove not Thy help to a distance from me, look towards my defense, save me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowness from the horn of the unicorn. O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sin.” (Ps. xxi.)

Why did Jesus enter with so much solemnity into Jerusalem? To present Himself as the promised Messiah and King of the Jews, Whose triumphant entry into Jerusalem the prophet Zachariah had predicted.

Why did the people go to meet Jesus with palms in their hands? It was done by a divine inspiration, to show that Jesus, as the victor over death, Satan, and hell, would gain for us the palm of peace with God, our neighbor, and ourselves, and that He would open to us the heavenly Jerusalem. And yet these same people, five days later, desired His death, crying out, “Crucify Him!” Learn, therefore, to confide in God alone, and not in man for he who is with you today may be against you tomorrow. Be cautious, therefore, and watchful, lest, imitating the changeableness of the people, you at Easter receive your Savior with joy, and then after a little by new sins crucify Him again (Heb. vi. 6).

Prayer

O almighty and eternal God, Who wouldst have Our Savior take flesh and undergo the cross, for man to imitate the example of His humility, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may both deserve the instruction of His patience and the fellowship of His resurrection. Through the same Jesus Christ, etc.

Blessed Palms in the Home[5]

The procession at Mass with the palms was a public display of homage and loyalty to Christ our King and Redeemer. Christ is the King of our home, so we should incorporate the blessed palms and a family prayer service as part of this day. Palm trees aren't readily available in some vicinities, there are other plants like olive branches, box, yew, spruce, willows and pussy-willows that are blessed and used the same way as palms for Passion Sunday.

DIRECTIONS

Reverence for Blessed Palms Because the palms are blessed, they are now sacramentals, which "are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare [us] to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1667). Sacramentals should be treated with respect and never be thrown away. Palms may only be burned or buried. It is an old tradition to burn blessed palm branches in times of forthcoming natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, asking God to avert or lessen the impending disaster. 

The instruction in the Directory on Popular Piety explains why this practice is not encouraged:

The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation at the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches. Palms or olive branches should not be kept as amulets, or for therapeutic or magical reasons to dispel evil spirits or to prevent the damage these cause in the fields or in the homes, all of which can assume a certain superstitious guise. Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory." Keeping in mind the symbolism of the palms, and that they are blessed, here are some suggestions in using the palms at home: Palm Crosses After Mass on Palm Sunday, family members can gather the palms and make a small palm cross to wear. There are a variety of ways to make the cross. The simplest is to take two small pieces, one a little longer than the other, crisscross the pieces in shape of a cross and staple at the middle. Another way is to make two small slits near the top (where the crossbeam would be) in the longer piece of palm and slide the cross beam through the slits. This could be a challenging project for the family members to try various methods. Each person is given a palm cross to wear on their coats or clothing throughout Holy Week, to remind us to carry our cross patiently so we may share Christ's Easter glory.
Prayer Service The family then gathers together. The father reads the account of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (from the Gospel of Mark 11:1-10 or Matt 21:1-11 or John 12:12-16 or Luke 19:28-40). Then the mother, with a lighted candle, leads the procession through all the rooms of the house. All sing the hymn All Glory, Laud and Honor and place a palm cross either above the door in each room, or behind the crucifix.
Palm Weaving 

Palm Weaving is a tradition found in many countries, such as Italy, Philippines, and Poland. Here are some links for instructions, from the simple cross to the elaborate flowers. Since the palms are blessed, there must be a reverence used towards the sacramental.

·         The Lost Art of Palm Weaving resources, including article: Palm Weaving: The Story... and The Art By Sister Cecilia Schmitt, EdD OSF (Word Document)
·         Palm Weaving by Anthony Parente
·         Palm Weaving at Origami Resource Center
·         Holy Week in the Philippines

Holy Week[6]

WHY is this week called holy week? It is because during this week we celebrate the most important mysteries of our religion with touching and holy ceremonies.

How should we spend this week? According to the intention of the Church, by meditating on the sufferings and death of Our Savior, by fasting more strictly, by praying often and devoutly, and leading a holy life.

Aspiration. O Jesus, I thank Thee for all Thou hast done and suffered for me. Oh, by Thy blood, give me grace to conquer my passions, and never to betray Thee by any sin. Amen.

Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to St. Bernadette




[1] http://www.shmoop.com/book-of-judges/chapter-8-summary.html
[3] http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/holy-week-and-passion/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html
[4] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.
[5]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1035
[6] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.

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