"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
April 17: Palm Sunday
But the divine word was rejected because it revealed sin lurking deep in the human heart. As the Suffering Servant, Jesus offers himself as the new Passover Lamb who will deliver all people from the slavery of sin and death. The second reading sums up the entire Gospel in a few verses. T
he pre-existent word of God, Jesus Christ, who “did not count equality with God as something to be grasped” condescended to take on human flesh, suffer and die. “
Because of this,” Paul exclaims, “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name … that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The four Gospels recall Jesus’ passion from slightly different perspectives. Matthew’s account accentuates Jesus’ royalty and his identity as the son of David, which is brought out in his triumphal entry, his trial before Pilate, the crown of thorns, the sign above his head and the mocking of the soldiers, priests and scribes. It is a paradoxical kingship for it is manifested in sarcasm, scorn and shame.
The climax of Jesus’ passion comes in his cry of desolation—“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” One with us in every way, he expresses mankind’s alienation from God due to sin. Jesus accepts it all, abandoning himself to the Father in complete love and trust.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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