Sunday, March 28, is Passion (Palm) Sunday (Year C, Cycle II).
March 28, Palm Sunday and Passion of the Lord
9:30am, St. Peter’s Square, Blessing of the Palms, Procession and Holy Mass
(Watch it at EWTN at 3:30am Eastern / 12:30am Pacific and 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific.)
March 29, Monday, Anniversary of the Death of Pope John Paul II (moved from the Easter Triduum)
6pm, St. Peter’s Basilica, Mass
(Watch it at EWTN noon Eastern / 9am Pacific.)
April 1, Holy Thursday
9:30am at St. Peter’s Basilica, Chrism Mass
(Watch it at EWTN at 3:30am Eastern / 12:30am Pacific.)
5:30pm, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Beginning of the Easter Triduum: Mass of the Lord’s Supper
(Watch it at EWTN at 11:30am Eastern / 8:30am and 11pm Pacific and Friday, April 2, at midnight Eastern.)
April 2, Good Friday
5pm at St. Peter’s Basilica, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
9:15pm, Roman Colosseum, Way of the Cross
(Watch it at EWTN at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific.)
April 3, Holy Saturday
9pm, St. Peter’s Basilica, Easter Vigil
(Watch it on EWTN at 3pm Eastern / noon and 9pm Pacific or Sunday, April 4, at midnight Eastern.)
April 4, Easter Sunday
10:15am, St. Peter’s Square, Easter Sunday Mass
(Watch it on EWTN at 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific.)
Noon, Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, Message and Blessing Urbi et Orbi
Way of the Cross
Here is a version of the Way of the Cross that uses clips from the movie The Passion of the Christ.
Here’s a more traditional version.
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56 or 23:1-49.
The priest who married us, Father Arthur Swain, used to call today’s second reading the key to the whole Christian life:
“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Humility and obedience are the two prerequisites for a Christian life. There is no faith without humility and obedience, because you only believe once you set your own preferences and understanding aside and accept the Church’s. There is no hope without humility and obedience because if you trust in yourself and your wits, you will fail miserably, sooner or later: Only by being small enough to trust, can you hope. And there is no love without humility and obedience — except self-love.
Luke’s Passion narrative in today’s Gospel depicts the dramatic confrontation between the humility and obedience of Christ and the pride and rebelliousness of the apostles. Christ takes the form of bread for them; they argue about which of them is the greatest. Christ prepares to die to fulfill his Father’s will; they, like the unfaithful son in the parable, loudly proclaim that they will be true to him, but then flee. Christ prays in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”; they sleep, disobedient to his request to stay awake with him for one hour.
Judas betrays him with a kiss and Peter betrays him with a sword, but Jesus allows himself to be led away. Peter won’t admit he knows him, for fear it might cause him pain; Christ won’t admit that he’s innocent, though he knows this means he will die.
Christ endures getting slapped, spit on, ridiculed and — what is hard for a man — getting bettered in unfair arguments framed by the Sanhedrin and Pilate and dismissed as a disappointment by Herod. These arguments lead people to revile Christ and lead Pilate and Herod to become friends.
The story today ends in the complete and total defeat of death, but through it all Christ keeps his composure and forgives and counsels and, as we know, wins totally in the end.
This is awe-inspiring humility and obedience. We should pray that we might learn a little of it, and then look for chances to practice humility and obedience so that we can start getting better at it — and therefore get better at being Christians.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.