Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

The Gospel: Matt. 21:1-9.

At that time, when Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet, then he sent two disciples, saying to them: Go into the village, that is over against you: and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say that the Lord has need of them: and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done that the word might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell the daughter of Sion: Behold, your king comes to you, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others cut down boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: and the multitude that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

On the Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem.


Jesus went triumphing to death. He knew all that awaited him at Jerusalem and had foretold to his disciples how he was to be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes who would condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged, and crucified. But notwithstanding all, he went thither promptly and joyfully. Whence arose this eagerness and joy? It was because he desired infinitely to suffer and die for our salvation to show his great love for us, to honor his heavenly Father, and accomplish his will. It was to crown his ignominy and humiliations with glory and triumph. It was to eat the pasch and institute the sacrament of his body and blood that he might perpetuate on our altars the sacrifice he offered on Calvary.

Christian soul, do you imitate the example of your divine Lord? do you suffer with Jesus, resignedly and joyfully? Do you go triumphantly to death? Do you allow yourself to be led thereto as a victim to the sacrifice? Is there anything more noble than to die for God, anything more just than to give your life to him who gave his for you? Anything sweeter or more consoling than to offer him proofs of your love? Anything of greater merit in his eyes than to sacrifice those things which we love best of all the world for the sake of Jesus? On the contrary, is there anything more cowardly, unjust, and deplorable, than to shrink away at the approach of death? To allow despair to enter the soul or feel unwilling to pay so lawful a debt? Or pay it with such regret as to lose the merit of the greatest and most important act of our lives?


Jesus enters your heart in triumph whenever you communicate worthily at the divine banquet of the altar. His triumph here is infinitely sweet and glorious to him, because the heart into which he enters is a kingdom, the conquest of which cost him his life! Daughters of Sion, rejoice! Behold your King who approaches full of sweetness and love. It is your king and not a tyrant, He is not a severe judge but a prince full of peace and compassion. He comes not to destroy you or to punish your treasons and rebellions, but to save you, to sanctify you, to pardon your sins, to communicate to you the merits of his passion, to animate you by his spirit, pour out his graces on you, and give you part with him in the abundance of the glory and felicity of his heavenly kingdom.


What preparations will you make, daughters of Sion, to receive your King? You must go before him bearing a palm, to signify the victory you have gained over the world, the devil, and your own evil passions. It is necessary to divest yourself of the sinful habits with which your soul is clothed and place them under the feet of Jesus Christ. You must break off branches, that is to say, cut off all that is superfluous in yourself, whether it be in words, habits, nourishment, or amusements, by continual mortifications. You must give alms to the poor and make them your care and treasure. If any one question or praise your works, say: The Lord hath need of them: it is in his name and for him that I labor.

Sing, then, with the multitude: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" Receive him with joy. Receive him in your inmost soul. Take care that you do not betray him, outrage and crucify him as the Jews did three days after they had received him. Oh, inconstancy of man! Oh, vanity of life! Oh, perfidy of the human heart! How often have you not crucified him after having welcomed and received him in triumph! Humiliate yourself and ask forgiveness of your offended Lord, for having so betrayed his interests, and resolve to be more faithful to him in future.

Resolution: I will not end my daily meditations with the coming of Easter, but continue them every day of my life, that I may learn the will of God and accomplish it in this world so as to live
with God forever in the life to come.

Prayer: O my Jesus, I will not be like the children of Jerusalem who welcomed thee with olive branches and great cheering and then turned on thee and betrayed thee to death upon the cross. This I have done and for this I beg thy forgiveness, who died for love of me. Never again will I turn on thee and betray thee by mortal sin. But I cannot do this without the help of thy grace. Give me, therefore, the grace to desire to pray and the grace to pray each day, that when put to the test I may not fail but triumph over sin with thy help. O Mary, thou who canst obtain all things from thy Son, obtain for me these graces, lest I be lost eternally.

By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

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