This Week's Liturgy
"Make the preparations"
April 1st, 2012 (see other dates)
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Discussion Questions for Reading 1God'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 ReflectionIf 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 2Describe 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 ReflectionThis 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.
Discussion Questions for GospelImagine 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 ReflectionThis 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.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
PalmsProvide each child with a piece of green construction paper and a pattern for a leaf. Have them trace the pattern on their construction paper and cut it out. Then have the children cut slits along the lines toward the center of the leaves to make palm branches. Use the palm branchess for the dramatization below.
Palm Sunday—a DramatizationRead the gospel to the children. Then select one child to be Jesus and two children for his disciples. Provide a stick horse as a prop for the child portraying Jesus. (A broom may also be used.) Then have the children act out the gospel as you read it again, using the palms made earlier.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Honoring the NameIn the past, Catholics often honored the name of Jesus by making a slight bow of the head each time his name was mentioned.
In the space below, list at least three possible ways young Catholics might honor Jesus' name during Holy Week. Consider ways that use body language, art and crafts, music, photography, or the Internet.
Praying With JesusLook again at Mark's version of the Passion of the Lord. As you accompany Jesus through each of the following sufferings, write a one-line prayer expressing your thoughts or feelings.
- Pilate offers to release Jesus but the crowd demands that Barabbas be released instead. My prayer: ___________________________________
- The soldiers ridicule and mock Jesus as the King of the Jews. My prayer: ___________________________________
- Jesus is crucified and the crowd taunts him. My prayer: ___________________________________
- Jesus cries out his last prayer and breathes his last breath. My prayer: ___________________________________
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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