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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

HOLY WEEK IN EAST AND WEST: PALM SUNDAY 2017

Prelude
Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
                          -Psalm 24:7

A Prayer for the beginning of Holy Week

Assist us mercifully with your help,
O Lord God of our salvation,
that we may enter with joy
upon the contemplation
of those mighty acts,
whereby you have given us
life and immortality;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Be watchful, brethren, lest the mysteries of this season pass you by without your gaining from them their due fruit. Abundant is the blessing; you must bring clean vessels to receive it, and offer loving souls and watchful senses, sober affections and pure consciences for such great gifts of grace. … All Christians practise more than usual devotion in these seven days and try to be more humble and more serious than is their wont, so that in some sort they may share Christ's sufferings. And rightly so. For the Passion of the Lord is here in truth, shaking the earth, rending the rocks and opening the tombs; and His Resurrection also is at hand. …
Bernard of Clairvaux 1090-1153
On Keeping Holy Week
De Passione Domini

Meditation One (introit)

the spiritual eye of the little ones
Jesus acts - and the same Spirit that inspires his action moves in those about him, revealing to them its meaning. Simultaneously, their eyes see the Lord as he rides through the street, and their spirit sees what is behind the event. The physical eye and the spiritual are one. And those who so truly 'saw' in that hour were not the particularly talented, neither truly geniuses nor in any way the elite or the mighty, but' the common people,' those who happened to be in the streets at the time. For the power that opened their eyes and hearts was not human power, but the Spirit of God moving among men. Indeed, it is “the little ones,” possessors of the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus calls them, who are particularly free and open to the workings of the Spirit, for in them it can operate untrammelled by the consciousness of their own human value. This then is God's hour; were the masses to reject it, the stones beneath their feet would proclaim the Messiah. It is the last, God-given chance.
-Romano Guardini   1885-1968
The Lord


Meditation Two (insight)

our souls as branches
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
… So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him.... Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today iin the children's holy song: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.”

-Andrew of Crete (c.650-712, 726,or 740)
Sermon 9 for Palm Sunday
quoted from Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, J.Robert Wright

Meditation Three (integration)
getting involved 
Those who, in the biblical phrase, would save their lives—that is, those who want to get along, who don’t want commitments, who don’t want to get into problems, who want to stay outside of a situation that demands the involvement of all of us — they will lose their lives. What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably, with no suffering, not getting involved in problems, quite tranquil, quite settled, with good connections politically, economically, socially — lacking nothing, having everything. To what good? They will lose their lives.
-Oscar Romero 1917-1980

The Last Word
Look for us, the faithful, with the angels and the children, loudly praising the conqueror of death: Hosanna in the highest.

- Monastic Liturgy
quoted from A Lent Sourcebook II,
Liturgy Training Publications


The Ass
Having said that, shall I now comfort our poor beast a little? We know he cannot sing; he is not of those who can say, 'Thy statutes have been my songs in the place of my pilgrimage'! But he has something, all the same, that all the others lack; for to none other is the Lord so near. No, no even those who keep close to His side have Him so close to them as has the beast whereon He sits; the prophet says as much, 'The Lord is nigh to them that are grieved at heart.'For a mother also, when she knows her son is sick, takes all the greater care of him and folds him in her arms more frequently. Let no one, therefore, think it an unworthy or small thing that he should be a riding-beast for Christ.
Bernard of Clairvaux  1090-1153
from Dominica Palmarum II

That beast on which Christ sits, is it no you, who glorify and carry Christ in your own bodies, as the apostle says?
Dominica Palmarum I.4

About the author of the above:  Suzanne
My husband Bill Consiglio and I live in Citrus Heights, California.
In addition to writing, I lead retreats and workshops throughout the United States. I have served the Episcopal church as a parish priest, a children’s priest, a Christian Education consultant, columnist on children's spirituality and as a college (Vassar) and university (Cornell) chaplain. I’ve raised four children who are now grown.
My interest in mystical theology began at the age of twenty-two when I read the Autobiography of Teresa of Avila. I'm interested in questions about how people "learn" to discern layers of consciousness of the Holy. And I'm particularly fascinated by the unending mystery of prayer itself.



Palm Sunday: The Feast of the Entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem


Introduction

On the Sunday before the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha and at the beginning of Holy Week, the Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. Having anticipated His arrival and having heard of the miracle, the people went out to meet the Lord and welcomed Him with displays of honor and shouts of praise. On this day, we receive and worship Christ in this same manner, acknowledging Him as our King and Lord.

Biblical Story

The biblical story of Palm Sunday is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; and John 12:12-18). Five days before the Passover, Jesus came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Having sent two of His disciples to bring Him a colt of a donkey, Jesus sat upon it and entered the city.

People had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover and were looking for Jesus, both because of His great works and teaching and because they had heard of the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus. When they heard that Christ was entering the city, they went out to meet Him with palm branches, laying their garments on the ground before Him, and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

At the outset of His public ministry Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God and announced that the powers of the age to come were already active in the present age (Luke 7:18-22). His words and mighty works were performed "to produce repentance as the response to His call, a call to an inward change of mind and heart which would result in concrete changes in one's life, a call to follow Him and accept His messianic destiny. The triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a messianic event, through which His divine authority was declared.

Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king: the Word of God made flesh. We are called to behold Him not simply as the One who came to us once riding on a colt, but as the One who is always present in His Church, coming ceaselessly to us in power and glory at every Eucharist, in every prayer and sacrament, and in every act of love, kindness and mercy. He comes to free us from all our fears and insecurities, "to take solemn possession of our soul, and to be enthroned in our heart," as someone has said. He comes not only to deliver us from our deaths by His death and Resurrection, but also to make us capable of attaining the most perfect fellowship or union with Him. He is the King, who liberates us from the darkness of sin and the bondage of death. Palm Sunday summons us to behold our King: the vanquisher of death and the giver of life.

Palm Sunday summons us to accept both the rule and the kingdom of God as the goal and content of our Christian life. We draw our identity from Christ and His kingdom. The kingdom is Christ - His indescribable power, boundless mercy and incomprehensible abundance given freely to man. The kingdom does not lie at some point or place in the distant future. In the words of the Scripture, the kingdom of God is not only at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17), it is within us (Luke 17:21). The kingdom is a present reality as well as a future realization (Matthew 6:10). Theophan the Recluse wrote the following words about the inward rule of Christ the King:

“The Kingdom of God is within us when God reigns in us, when the soul in its depths confesses God as its Master, and is obedient to Him in all its powers. Then God acts within it as master ‘both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13). This reign begins as soon as we resolve to serve God in our Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Then the Christian hands over to God his consciousness and freedom, which comprises the essential substance of our human life, and God accepts the sacrifice; and in this way the alliance of man with God and God with man is achieved, and the covenant with God, which was severed by the Fall and continues to be severed by our willfull sins, is re-established.”

The kingdom of God is the life of the Holy Trinity in the world. It is the kingdom of holiness, goodness, truth, beauty, love, peace and joy. These qualities are not works of the human spirit. They proceed from the life of God and reveal God. Christ Himself is the kingdom. He is the God-Man, Who brought God down to earth (John 1:1,14). “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not” (John 1:10-11). He was reviled and hated.

Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king - the Suffering Servant. We cannot understand Jesus' kingship apart from the Passion. Filled with infinite love for the Father and the Holy Spirit, and for creation, in His inexpressible humility Jesus accepted the infinite abasement of the Cross. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; He was wounded for our transgressions and made Himself an offering for sin (Isaiah 53). His glorification, which was accomplished by the resurrection and the ascension, was achieved through the Cross.

In the fleeting moments of exuberance that marked Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the world received its King, the king who was on His way to death. His Passion, however, was no morbid desire for martyrdom. Jesus' purpose was to accomplish the mission for which the Father sent Him.

“The Son and Word of the Father, like Him without beginning and eternal, has come today to the city of Jerusalem, seated on a dumb beast, on a foal. From fear the cherubim dare not gaze upon Him; yet the children honor Him with palms and branches, and mystically they sing a hymn of praise: ‘Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the Son of David, who has come to save from error all mankind.’” (A hymn of the Light.)

“With our souls cleansed and in spirit carrying branches, with faith let us sing Christ's praises like the children, crying with a loud voice to the Master: Blessed art Thou, O Savior, who hast come into the world to save Adam from the ancient curse; and in Thy love for mankind Thou hast been pleased to become spiritually the new Adam. O Word, who hast ordered all things for our good, glory to Thee.” (A Sessional hymn of the Orthros)

Orthodox Christian Celebration of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on Saturday evening according to the order prescribed in the Triodion. Scripture readings for Palm Sunday are: At the Vespers: Genesis 49:1,8-12; Zephaniah 3:14-19; Zechariah 9:9-15. At the Orthros (Matins): Matthew 21:1-17. At the Divine Liturgy: Philippians 4:4-9; John 12:1-18.

On this Sunday, in addition to the Divine Liturgy, the Church observes the Blessing and Distribution of the Palms. A basket containing the woven palm crosses is placed on a table in front of the icon of the Lord, which is on the Iconostasion. The prayer for the blessing of the Palms is found in the Ieratikon or the Euxologion. According to the rubrics of the Typikon, this prayer is read at the Orthros just before the Psalms of Praise (Ainoi). The palms are then distributed to the faithful. In many places today, the prayer is said at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, before the apolysis. The text of the prayer, however, indicates clearly that it is less a prayer for the blessing of the palms, even though that is its title, and more a blessing upon those, who in imitation of the New Testament event hold palms in their hands as symbols of Christ's victory and as signs of a virtuous Christian life. It appears then, that it would be more correct to have the faithful hold the palms in their hands during the course of the Divine Liturgy when the Church celebrates both the presence and the coming of the Lord in the mystery of the Eucharist.


"The Father of the Liturgical Movement" (Pope Paul VI)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Palm Sunday - Liturgical Year
  
Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive today in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the gross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome's emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.

The prophet Zachary had foretold this triumph which the Son of Man was to receive a few days before His Passion, and which had been prepared for Him from all eternity. 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold thy fling will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.'[1] Jesus, knowing that the hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy, singles out two from the rest of His disciples, and bids them lead to Him an ass and her colt, which they would find not far off. He has reached Bethphage, on Mount Olivet. The two disciples lose no time in executing the order given them by their divine Master; and the ass and the colt are soon brought to the place where He stands.

The holy fathers have explained to us the mystery of these two animals. The ass represents the Jewish people, which had been long under the yoke of the Law; the colt, upon which, as the evangelist says, no man yet hath sat.[2] is a figure of the Gentile world, which no one had ever yet brought into subjection. The future of these two peoples is to be decided a few days hence: the Jews will be rejected, for having refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias; the Gentiles will take their place, to be adopted as God's people, and become docile and faithful.

The disciples spread their garments upon the colt; and our Saviour, that the prophetic figure might be fulfilled, sits upon him,[3] and advances towards Jerusalem. As soon as it is known that Jesus is near the city, the holy Spirit works in the hearts of those Jews, who have come from all parts to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They go out to meet our Lord, holding palm branches in their hands, and fondly proclaiming Him to be King.[4] They that have accompanied Jesus from Bethania, join the enthusiastic crowd. Whilst some spread their garments on the way, others out down boughs from the palm-trees, and strew them along the road. Hosanna is the triumphant cry, proclaiming to the whole city that Jesus, the Son of David, has made His entrance as her King.

Thus did God, in His power over men's hearts, procure a triumph for His Son, and in the very city which, a few days later, was to glamour for His Blood. This day was one of glory to our Jesus, and the holy Church would have us renew, each year, the memory of this triumph of the Man-God. Shortly after the birth of our Emmanuel, we saw the Magi coming from the extreme east, and looking in Jerusalem for the King of the Jews, to whom they intended offering their gifts and their adorations: but it is Jerusalem herself that now goes forth to meet this King. Each of these events is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Jesus; the first, from the Gentiles; the second, from the Jews. Both were to pay Him this regal homage, before He suffered His Passion. The inscription to be put upon the gross, by Pilate's order, will express the kingly character of the Crucified: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate, the Roman governor, the pagan, the base coward, has been unwittingly the fulfiller of a prophecy; and when the enemies of Jesus insist on the inscription being altered, Pilate will not deign to give them any answer but this: 'What I have written, I have written.' Today, it is the Jews themselves that proclaim Jesus to be their King: they will soon be dispersed, in punishment for their revolt against the Son of David; but Jesus is King, and will be so for ever. Thus were literally verified the words spoken by the Archangel to Mary when he announced to her the glories of the Child that was to be born of her: 'The Lord God shall give unto Him the throng of David, His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.'[5] Jesus begins His reign upon the earth this very day; and though the first Israel is soon to disclaim His rule, a new Israel, formed from the faithful few of the old, shall rise up in every nation of the earth, and become the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom such as no mere earthly monarch ever coveted in his wildest fancies of ambition.

This is the glorious mystery which ushers in the great week, the week of dolours. Holy Church would have us give this momentary consolation to our heart, and hail our Jesus as our King. She has so arranged the service of today, that it should express both joy and sorrow; joy, by uniting herself with the loyal of the city of David; and sorrow, by compassionating the Passion of her divine Spouse. The whole function is divided into three parts, which we will now proceed to explain.

The first is the blessing of the palms; and we may have an idea of its importance from the solemnity used by the Church in this saved rite. One would suppose that the holy Sacrifice has begun, and is going to be offered up in honour of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Introit, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, even a Preface, are said, as though we were, as usual, preparing for the immolation of the spotless Lamb; but, after the triple the Church suspends these sacrificial formulas, and turns to the blessing of the palms. The prayers she uses for this blessing are eloquent and full of instruction and, together with the sprinkling with holy water and the incensation, impart a virtue to these branches which elevates them to the supernatural order, and makes them means for the sanctification of our souls and the protection of our persons and dwellings. The faithful should hold these palms in their hands during the procession, and during the reading of the Passion at Mass, and keep them in their homes as an outward expression of their faith, and as a pledge of God's watchful love.

It is scarcely necessary to tell our reader that the palms or olive branches, thus blessed, are carried in memory of those wherewith the people of Jerusalem strewed the road, as our Saviour made His triumphant entry; but a word on the antiquity of our ceremony will not be superfluous. It began very early in the east. It is probable that, as far as Jerusalem itself is concerned, the custom was estate. fished immediately after the ages of persecution St. Cyril, who was bishop of that city in the fourth century, tells us that the palm-tree, from which the people out the branches when they went out to meet our Saviour, was still to be seen in the vale of Cedron.[6] Such a circumstance would naturally suggest an annual commemoration of the great event. In the following century, we find this ceremony established, not only in the churches of the east, but also in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria. At the beginning of Lent, many of the holy monks obtained permission from their abbots to retire into the desert, that they might spend the saved season in strict seclusion; but they were obliged to return to their monasteries for Palm Sunday, as we learn from the life of Saint Euthymius, written by his disciple Cyril.[7] In the west, the introduction of this ceremony was more gradual; the first trace we find of it is in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. When the faith had penetrated into the north, it was not possible to have palms or olive branches; they were supplied by branches from other trees. The beautiful prayers used in the blessing, and based on the mysteries expressed by the palm and olive trees, are still employed in the blessing of our willow, box, or other branches; and rightly, for these represent the symbolical ones which nature has denied us.

The second of today's ceremonies is the procession, which comes immediately after the blessing of the palms. It represents our Saviour's journey to Jerusalem, and His entry into the city. To make it the more expressive, the branches that have just been blessed are held in the hand during it. With the Jews, to hold a branch in one's hand was a sign of joy. The divine law had sanctioned this practice, as we read in the following passage from Leviticus, where God commands :His people to keep the feast of tabernacles: And you shall take to you, on the first day, the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.[8] It was, therefore, to testify their delight at seeing Jesus enter within their walls, that the inhabitants, even the little children, of Jerusalem, went forth to meet Him with palms in their hands. Let us, also, go before our King, singing our to Him as the conqueror of death, and the liberator of His people.

During the middle ages, it was the custom, in many churches, to carry the book of the holy Gospels in this procession. The Gospel contains the words of Jesus Christ, and was considered to represent Him. The procession halted at an appointed place, or station: the deacon then opened the sacred volume, and sang from it the passage which describes our Lord's entry into Jerusalem. This done, the cross which, up to this moment, was veiled, was uncovered; each of the clergy advanced towards it, venerated it, and placed at its foot a small portion of the palm he held in his hand. The procession then returned, preceded by the gross, which was left unveiled until all had re-entered the church. In England and Normandy, as far back as the eleventh century, there was practised a holy ceremony which represented, even more vividly than the one we have just been describing, the scene that was witnessed on this day at Jerusalem: the blessed Sacrament was carried in procession. The heresy of Berengarius, against the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had been broached about that time; and the tribute of triumphant joy here shown to the sacred Host was a distant preparation for the feast and procession which were to be instituted at a later period.

A touching ceremony was also practised in Jerusalem during today's procession, and, like those just mentioned, was intended to commemorate the event related by the Gospel. The whole community of the Franciscans (to whose keeping the holy places are entrusted) went in the morning to Bethphage. There, the father guardian of the holy Land, being vested in pontifical robes, mounted upon an ass, on which garments were laid. Accompanied by the friars and the Catholics of Jerusalem, all holding palms in their hands, he entered the city, and alighted at the church of the holy sepulchre where Mass was celebrated with all possible solemnity.

We have mentioned these different usages, as we have done others on similar occasions, in order to aid the faithful to the better understanding of the several mysteries of the liturgy. In the present instance, they will learn that, in today's procession, the Church wishes us to honour Jesus Christ as though He were really among us, and were receiving the humble tribute of our loyalty. Let us lovingly go forth to meet this our King, our Saviour, who comes to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet has just told us. He is in our midst; it is to Him that we pay honour with our palms: let us give Him our hearts too. He comes that He may be our King; let us welcome Him as such, and fervently cry out to Him: Hosanna to the Son of David!'
At the close of the procession a ceremony takes place, which is full of the sublimes" symbolism. On returning to the church, the doors are found to be shut. The triumphant procession is stopped; but the songs of joy are continued. A hymn in honour of Christ our King is sung with its joyous chorus; and at length the subdeacon strikes the door with the staff of the gross; the door opens, and the people, preceded by the clergy, enter the church, proclaiming the praise of Him, who is our resurrection and our life.

This ceremony is intended to represent the entry of Jesus into that Jerusalem of which the earthly one was but the figure-the Jerusalem of heaven, which has been opened for us by our Saviour. The sin of our first parents had shut it against us; but Jesus, the King of glory, opened its gates by His cross, to which every resistance yields. Let us, then, continue to follow in the footsteps of the Son of David, for He is also the Son of God, and He invites us to share His kingdom with Him. Thus, by the procession, which is commemorative of what happened on this day, the Church raises up our thoughts to the glorious mystery of the Ascension, whereby heaven was made the close of Jesus' mission on earth. Alas! the interval between these two triumphs of our Redeemer are not all days of joy; and no sooner is our procession over, than the Church, who had laid aside for a moment the weight of her grief, falls back into sorrow and mourning.

The third part of today's service is the offering of the holy Sacrifice. The portions that are sung by the choir are expressive of the deepest desolation; and the history of our Lord's Passion, which is now to be read by anticipation, gives to the rest of the day that character of saved gloom, which we all know so well. For the last five or six centuries, the Church has adopted a special chant for this narrative of the holy Gospel. The historian, or the evangelist, relates the events in a tone that is at once grave and pathetic; the words of our Saviour are sung to a solemn yet sweet melody, which strikingly contrasts with the high dominant of the several other interlocutors and the Jewish populace. During the singing of the Passion, the faithful should hold their palms in their hands, and, by this emblem of triumph, protest against the insults offered to Jesus by His enemies. As we listen to each humiliation and suffering, all of which were endured out of love for us, let us offer Him our palm as to our dearest Lord and King. When should we be more adoring, than when He is most suffering?

These are the leading features of this great day. According to our usual plan, we will add to the prayers and lessons any instructions that seem to be needed.

This Sunday, besides its liturgical and popular appellation of , has had several other Dames. Thus it was galled , in allusion to the acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem. Our forefathers used also to gall; it , because the feast of the Pasch (or Easter), which is but eight days off, is today in bud, so to speak, and the faithful could begin from this Sunday to fulfil the precept of Easter Communion. It was in allusion to this name, that the Spaniards, having on the Palm Sunday of 1613, discovered the peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, galled it We also find the name of given to this Sunday, because, during those times when it was the custom to defer till Holy Saturday the baptism of infants born during the preceding months (where such a delay entailed no danger), the parents used, on this day, to wash the heads of these children, out of respect to the holy chrism wherewith they were to be anointed. Later on, this Sunday was, at least in some churches, galled the , that is, of the catechumens, who were admitted to Baptism; they assembled today in the church, and received a special instruction on the symbol, which had been given to them in the previous scrutiny. In the Gothic Church of Spain, the symbol was not given till today. 

ENDNOTES

1 Zach. ix. 9. 

2 St. Mark si. 2. 

3 7, and St. Luke xix 35.

4 St. Luke xix. 38.

5 St. Luke i. 32.

6

7 Jan. 20. 

8 Lev. xxiii 40.



Pope Francis: Homily for Mass of Palm Sunday


19/03/2016 

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday presided at the Procession and Mass for Palm Sunday, as the Church enters into the celebration of Holy Week. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. 






The crowds in Jerusalem joyfully welcomed Jesus, the Pope said in his homily, and "we have made that enthusiasm our own: by waving our olive and palm branches we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us."The Holy Father continued: "Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness."Pope Francis' homily focused on the redemptive Passion of Jesus, who emptied Himself, dying on the Cross for our sake. Even "at the height of His annihilation, He reveals the true face of God, which is mercy." "If the mystery of evil is unfathomable," the Pope continued, "then the reality of Love poured out through Him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell.  He takes upon Himself all our pain that He may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred."God's way of acting, Pope Francis said, may seem very different from our own; nonetheless, we are called to "we are called to choose His way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves." Jesus, he concluded, "invites us to walk on his path. Let us turn our faces to Him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of His obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week."
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared homily for Palm Sunday 2016: 
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Palm Sunday
20 March 2016
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (cf. Lk 19:38), the crowd of Jerusalem exclaimed joyfully as they welcomed Jesus. We have made that enthusiasm our own: by waving our olive and palm branches we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us. Just as He entered Jerusalem, so He desires to enter our cities and our lives. As He did in the Gospel, riding on a donkey, so too He comes to us in humility; He comes “in the name of the Lord”. Through the power of His divine love He forgives our sins and reconciles us to the Father and with ourselves.

            Jesus is pleased with the crowd’s showing their affection for Him. When the Pharisees ask Him to silence the children and the others who are acclaiming Him, He responds: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Lk 19:40). Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness.

            Today’s liturgy teaches us that the Lord has not saved us by His triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles. The Apostle Paul, in the second reading, epitomizes in two verbs the path of redemption: Jesus “emptied” and “humbled” Himself (Phil 2:7-8). These two verbs show the boundlessness of God’s love for us. Jesus emptied Himself: He did not cling to the glory that was His as the Son of God, but became the Son of man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet He was without sin. Even more, He lived among us in “the condition of a servant” (v. 7); not of a king or a prince, but of a servant. Therefore He humbled Himself, and the abyss of His humiliation, as Holy Week shows us, seems to be bottomless.
            The first sign of this love “without end” (Jn 13:1) is the washing of the feet. “The Lord and Master” (Jn 13:14) stoops to His disciples’ feet, as only servants would have done. He shows us by example that we need to allow His love to reach us, a love which bends down to us; we cannot do any less, we cannot love without letting ourselves be loved by Him first, without experiencing His surprising tenderness and without accepting that true love consists in concrete service.

            But this is only the beginning. The humiliation of Jesus reaches its utmost in the Passion: He is sold for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed by the kiss of a disciple whom He had chosen and called His friend. Nearly all the others flee and abandon Him; Peter denies Him three times in the courtyard of the temple. Humiliated in His spirit by mockery, insults and spitting, He suffers in His body terrible brutality: the blows, the scourging and the crown of thorns make His face unrecognizable. He also experiences shame and disgraceful condemnation by religious and political authorities: He is made into sin and considered to be unjust. Pilate then sends Him to Herod, who in turn sends Him to the Roman governor. Even as every form of justice is denied to Him, Jesus also experiences in His own flesh indifference, since no one wishes to take responsibility for His fate. The crowd, who just a little earlier had acclaimed Him, now changes their praise into a cry of accusation, even to the point of preferring that a murderer be released in His place. And so the hour of death on the cross arrives, that most painful form of shame reserved for traitors, slaves and the worst kind of criminals. But isolation, defamation and pain are not yet the full extent of His deprivation. To be totally in solidarity with us, He also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father. In His abandonment, however, He prays and entrusts Himself: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:47). Hanging from the wood of the cross, beside derision He now confronts the last temptation: to come down from the Cross, to conquer evil by might and to show the face of a powerful and invincible God. Jesus, however, even here at the height of His annihilation, reveals the true face of God, which is mercy. He forgives those who are crucifying Him, He opens the gates of paradise to the repentant thief and He touches the heart of the centurion. If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through Him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell. He takes upon Himself all our pain that He may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred.
            God’s way of acting may seem so far removed from our own, that He was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little. He comes to save us; we are called to choose His way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves. Let us walk this path, pausing in these days to gaze upon the Crucifix, the “royal seat of God”, to learn about the humble love which saves and gives life, so that we may give up all selfishness, and the seeking of power and fame. By humbling Himself, Jesus invites us to walk on His path. Let us turn our faces to Him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of His obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week.



The Donkey
by G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked 
   And figs grew upon thorn, 
Some moment when the moon was blood 
   Then surely I was born. 

With monstrous head and sickening cry 
   And ears like errant wings, 
The devil’s walking parody 
   On all four-footed things. 

The tattered outlaw of the earth, 
   Of ancient crooked will; 
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, 
   I keep my secret still. 

Fools! For I also had my hour; 
   One far fierce hour and sweet: 
There was a shout about my ears

   And palms before my feet. 


please click on the following:
THE LITURGY OF HOLY WEEK IN lATIN ACCORDING TO THE EXTRAORDINARY RITE

Semaine Sainte

DIMANCHE DES RAMEAUX(French time)10 h 00 : Processions des Rameaux  
suivie de la messe avec chant de la Passion.
JEUDI SAINT
6 h 00 : Office des Ténèbres, 17 h 00 : Messe vespérale.
VENDREDI SAINT
6 H 00 : Office des Ténèbres, 15 h 00 : Office de l'Adoration de la Croix.
SAMEDI SAINT
6 h 00 : Office des Ténèbres, 17 h 30 : Vêpres, 22 h 00 : Vigile Pascale.

SAMEDI VEILLE de la PENTECÔTE16 h 30 : Messe solennelle de la vigile,
suivie des premières vêpres de la Pentecôte.

15 AOÛT16 h 30 : Vêpres, suivies de la Procession


du Vœu de Louis XIII puis du Salut.


PALM SUNDAY
by Father A. Schmemann


Father Alexandr Schmemann

The Saturday of Lazarus, from the liturgical point of view, is the pre-feast of Palm Sunday --
the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem. Both feasts have a common theme: triumph and victory. Saturday reveals the Enemy, which is death; Palm Sunday announces the meaning of victory as the triumph of the Kingdom of God, as the acceptance by the world of its only King, Jesus Christ. In the life of Jesus, the solemn entrance in the Holy City was the only visible triumph. Up to that day, He consistently rejected all attempts to glorify Him. But six days before the Passover, He not only accepted to be glorified, He Himself provoked and arranged this glorification. By doing what the prophet Zechariah announced: "behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass' colt!" (Zechariah 9:9), He made it clear that He wanted to be acclaimed and acknowledged as the Messiah, the King and the Redeemer of Israel. And the Gospel narratives stress all these messianic features: the Palms and the Hosanna, the acclamation of Jesus as the Son of David and the King of Israel. The history of Israel is now coming to its end, such is the meaning of this event. For the purpose of that history was to announce and to prepare the kingdom of God, the advent of the Messiah. And now it is fulfilled. For the King enter His Holy City and in Him all prophecies, all expectations find their fulfillment. He inaugurates His Kingdom. The Liturgy of Palm Sunday commemorates this event. With palm branches in our hands we identify ourselves with the people of Jerusalem, together with them we greet the lowly King, singing Hosanna to Him. But what is the meaning of it today and for us?

Citizenship in the Kingdom

First, it is our confession of Christ as our King and Lord. We forget so often that the Kingdom of God has already been inaugurated and that on the day of our baptism we were made citizens of it, have promised to put our loyalty to it above all other loyalties. We must always remember that for a few hours, Christ was indeed King on earth, in this world of ours. For a few hours only and in one city. But, as in Lazarus we have recognized the image of each man, in this one city we acknowledge the mystical center of the world and indeed of
the whole creation. For such is the Biblical meaning of Jerusalem, the focal point of the whole history of salvation and redemption, the holy city of God's advent. Therefore, the
Kingdom inaugurated in Jerusalem is a universal Kingdom, embracing in its perspective all men and the totality of creation... For a few hours -- yet these were the decisive time, the ultimate hour of Jesus, the hour of fulfillment by God of all His promises, of all His decisions. It came at the end of the entire process of preparation, revealed in the Bible, it was the end of all that God did for men. And thus, this short hour of Christ's earthly triumph acquires an eternal meaning. It introduces the reality of the Kingdom into our time, into all hours, makes this Kingdom the meaning of time and its ultimate goal. The Kingdom was revealed in this world and from that hour; its presence judges and transforms human history... And when at the most solemn moment of our Liturgical celebration, we receive p. 4 from the priest a palm branch, we renew our oath to our King, we confess His Kingdom as the ultimate meaning and content of our life. We confess that everything in our life and in the world belongs to Christ and nothing can be taken away from its sole real Owner, that there is no area of life in which He is not to rule, to save and to redeem. We proclaim the universal and total responsibility of the Church for human history and uphold her universal mission.

The Way of the Cross

But we know that the King whom the Jews acclaimed then and whom we acclaim today, is on His way to Golgotha, to the Cross and to the grave. We know that this short triumph is
but the prologue of His sacrifice. The branches in our hands signify, therefore, our readiness and willingness to follow Him on this sacrificial way, our acceptance of sacrifice and self-denial as the only royal way to the Kingdom. And finally, these branches, this celebration, proclaim our faith in the final victory of Christ. His Kingdom is yet hidden and the world ignores it. It lives it as if the decisive event had not taken place, as if God had not died on the Cross and Man in Him was not risen from the dead. But we, Christians, believe in the coming of the Kingdom in which God will be all in all and Christ the only King. In our liturgical celebrations, we remember events of the past. But the whole meaning and power of Liturgy is that it transforms remembrance into reality. On Palm Sunday this reality is our own involvement, our responsibility to, the Kingdom of God. Christ does not enter into Jerusalem anymore, He did it once and for all. And He does not need any "symbols," for He did not die on the Cross that we may eternally "symbolize" His life. He wants from us a real acceptance of the Kingdom which He brought to us... And if we are not ready to stand by the solemn oath, which we renew every year on Palm Sunday, if we do not mean to make the

Kingdom of God the measure of our whole life, meaningless is our commemoration and vain the branches we take home from the Church.






 ON THE DAY


ABBOT PAUL'S CONTRIBUTION

Palm Sunday 2017

            Today we are struck by the stark contrast between the joyful blessing of palms with its procession and the bleak celebration of the Passion that follows. The spring blossom and blue skies of the abbey gardens are replaced by the sombre interior of the abbey church. This year we have heard the Passion according to St. Matthew: a profound meditation on the events of Holy Week, full of fascinating insights. The king of the Jews, a title we first hear on the lips of the Magi, is betrayed by the kiss of Judas, tried by both Jews and Romans and condemned to death by crucifixion.

            There are many interesting details in Matthew’s account of the Passion, which seems to echo with the words of the Old Testament. Judas does not want to be responsible for innocent blood, so he gives back the thirty pieces of silver and hangs himself. Nor do the chief priests, who use the money to buy the Potter’s Field. Pilate’s wife, who remains nameless, receives a revelation in a dream that Jesus is a just man, while her husband washes his hands because he is a scared man. The Jews adopt the legal formula “his blood be on us and on our children” to take responsibility for the death of one they consider to be a criminal. How could they have known that Jesus was innocent? We see judgement and punishment in the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.

            Matthew emphasised the importance of the star of Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus being marked by a sign in the heavens. Now the death of Jesus is marked by signs on the earth and under the earth: not only is the veil of the sanctuary rent from top to bottom, but the earth is shaken, rocks split apart (as happened to the Skirrid on the road to Abergavenny), tombs opened and the bodies of holy men and women raised from the dead, entering the holy city after Jesus’ resurrection. Human relationships with God are changed for ever and the whole of creation transformed for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”

            A few points, then, for us to think about this Holy Week. Have I, like Judas, betrayed Jesus while still calling him Lord and Teacher? Have I, like Pilate, washed my hands in feigned innocence, while remaining complacent, indifferent and guilty? Have I, like the chief priests, condemned the innocent to death, at least in thought and in word? Have I secured the sepulchre to stop the good news getting out, that Christ is truly risen from the dead? Will Holy Week change my life? Am I ready to rise to new life with Christ this Easter?

Two bombings have caused the loss of over thirty lives in two Coptic churches in the Palm Sunday Mass was in progree. So-called ISIS claims responsibility.  Bishop Angelos who represents the Coptic patriarch in Britain says that many Christians in Egypt pray together in their families before going to church on Sundays because they don't know whether they may be killed.  Let us pray for our brother Christians and ask their prayers for us in our weakness.
PALM SUNDAY IN PACHACAMAC
Dom Alex blessing the palms

procession with palms
the Passion being read
After the liturgy, a little relaxation
The three in lay clothes are aspirants

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