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Discussion Questions for Reading 1

God's Servant speaks with a well-trained tongue that teaches, comforts, and inspires people to change their lives. Who among God's people has helped you in one or more of these ways? What lines in this reading might you pray if you were suffering an injustice? Why?

How might you "speak to the weary" during these closing weeks of Lent? What about fellow students who are depressed? Parents who are exhausted? The elderly in nursing homes? Those who are in prison?

Reading 1 Isaiah 50:4-7

Reading 1 Reflection

If you have ever experienced injustice or rejection, you understand the feelings expressed in this first reading. The one who is speaking is the Suffering Servant of God. It is easy for us as Christians to identify this servant with Jesus. When he was made to suffer, despite his innocence he did not rebel or seek revenge against his enemies. He trusted that God was at his side and knew that he would "not be put to shame."

On this Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, we honor the Suffering Servant who laid down his life for us.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

Describe how you think a humble person might respond to an insult or a lie told about him or her. What might it mean to "humble yourself" as Jesus did? Why is that so hard to do? How might we show that we have emptied ourselves of the desire to be more important than others?

How do you honor the name of Jesus? What new way of doing so will you practice this week?

Reading 2 Philippians 2:6-11

Reading 2 Reflection

This reading is a hymn to Jesus Christ that serves as a preview of the events of Holy Week. It describes how the Son of God "emptied himself" of divine glory and became human like all of us. Out of love and obedience, he accepted his own death on a cross.

Because Jesus humbled himself and did not cling to any of his special privileges as God's Son, he was glorified by his heavenly Father. We are called to have the same attitude of humility and obedience as Christ had.

How will you make preparations for the Triduum?

Discussion Questions for Gospel

Imagine that you are one of the following people: Pilate, Barabbas, a Roman soldier, Simon of Cyrene, a member of the crowd, or the centurion. Describe your thoughts and feelings about Jesus as he endures his Passion and Crucifixion. Why do you think people sometimes ridicule and mock others? What does the example of Jesus teach us about seeking revenge against others?

Why do you think people in crowds sometimes act in ways that they as individuals would never do? What insights into human behavior does the Passion of Jesus give you? How will you show this week that you honor Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God?

Gospel Mark 15:1-39

Gospel Reflection

This Palm Sunday reading of the Passion of the Lord is taken from Mark's Gospel. It was the first written account of how Jesus suffered and died. It is also the shortest version of the Passion and is written almost like a newspaper story that presents "just the facts."

The most important truth Mark wants to communicate is that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, whose suffering leads to glory. When Jesus cries out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1), he is praying in the words of the psalmist who continues to trust God even when all seems hopeless.

As we read or listen to the Passion, we try to unite ourselves with Jesus and all those who suffer injustice in today's world.

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