Passion Sunday

The Introduction 

Jesus offers his disciples bread and wine, which is what they expected him to do as table host. But he offers them also his body and blood, which they did not expect and receive in confusion and distress. And then Jesus goes into the night, to face his betrayer and accusers. His body is handed over, spat upon in the presence of the high priest, sold for a bag of silver. The crowds cry out to see his body crucified. His flesh is whipped and his brow is harshly crushed by a crown of thorns. His thirst is mocked by vinegar, and his limbs are torn by nails. And finally, the body of Jesus is slain on the cross, and taken down and carried away for burial. One would have thought that would have been the end of it, and mercifully so. But the body of Christ rises from the dead, and lives on in our community of faith. Jesus offers his body again and again to those who are his disciples. And now we claim this body as our own, and offer it to the world which longs to see the face of love.

The Scripture (Matthew 27: 50 -54) The Death of Jesus

Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn into two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and those with him who were keeping watch feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God!’

The Connection

When Jesus left the countryside to bring his ministry to Jerusalem, he took a major risk. Jerusalem was the centre of political and religious activity. And Jesus didn’t waste any time challenging the authority of its religious leaders. As a result, the religious leaders quickly began looking for a way to sentence Jesus to death. Though none of us will ever face crucifixion for our faith, we are called to take risks. Reflect on these profound words of the late bishop of El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero: ‘A church that doesn’t provoke a crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a Word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, what kind of gospel is that?’

The Commissioning

Go! Celebrate the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem.
As Jesus came with humility, so we leave our pride and self-serving in the dust.
As the crowd spread cloaks and branches in front of God’s chosen one,
so we welcome God’s promised one and acknowledge his eternal worth.
As the crowd surrounded Jesus shouting,
‘Praise be to David’s son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord!’
So we praise God from the bottom of our hearts for all God has done through Jesus.
Praise be to God.

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