Passion (Palm) Sunday (B)
March 24, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Procession (Words: Theodulph of Orleans; Music: William Henry Mon)


All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King!

To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal Son,

Who in the Lord’s Name comest, the King and Blessed One.  (Refrain)

The company of angels is praising Thee on high;

And we with all creation in chorus make reply. (Refrain)

The people of the Hebrews with palms before Thee went,

Our praise and prayers and anthems before Thee we present.  (Refrain)

To thee before Thy passion they sang their hymns of praise;

To Thee, now high exalted, our melody we raise.  (Refrain)

Thou didst accept their praises, accept the prayers we bring;

Who in all good delightest, Thou good and gracious King.  (Refrain)


Almighty ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading IS 50:4-7

The servant of the Lord said: 4 “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. 6 “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 “The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

Responsorial Psalm

R/. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Second Reading PHIL 2:6-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Verse Before The Gospel PHIL 2:8-9

               [The Passion begins at 6:28 in the video if you wish to listen]

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ According to Mark (15:1-39)

As soon as morning came, 
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, 
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison 
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered, 
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy 
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd 
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do 
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why?  What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, 
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and, 
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments 
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, 
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha!  You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, 
mocked him among themselves and said, 
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed 
and gave it to him to drink saying, 
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

        Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said, 
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Catena Nova

The passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us the confidence of glory and a lesson in the endurance of suffering. Is there anything which the hearts of the faithful may not promise themselves from the grace of God? It was not enough that the only Son of God, co-eternal with the Father, should be born as a human from a human being for them – he even died for them at the hands of men, whom he had created. What God promises us for the future is great, but what we recall as already done for us is much greater. When Christ died for the wicked, where were they or what were they? Who can doubt that he will give the saints his life, since he has already given them his death? Why is human weakness slow to believe that men and women will one day live with God? A much more incredible thing has already happened: God died for us… he carried out a wonderful transaction with us through our mutual sharing: he died from what was ours, we will live from what is his. So far from being ashamed at the death of the Lord our God, we must have the fullest trust in it; it must be our greatest boast, for by assuming from us death, which he found in us, he pledged most faithfully to give us life in himself, which we could not have our ourselves (St Augustine of Hippo).

O marvelous power of the cross, the glory of the Lord’s passion. No tongue can fittingly or fully describe this. Here is the judgment seat of the Lord. All now come before him and all have seen how they have or have not offered themselves really with Christ to God. Christ’s example of love is the sovereign judgment passed on the entire non-loving world. Here the sovereignty of the Crucified is revealed.  You drew all things to yourself, Lord, when you stretched out your hands all the day long to a people that denied and opposed you. And now, at last, the whole world is brought to proclaim your majesty. You have drawn all things to yourself, to your love, and shown them the new world created according to God and God’s will. The veil of the Temple was torn in two and the Holy of Holies given to a worthy priest who knew how to offer sacrifice in spirit and in truth. You drew all things to yourself so that the whole human race could  worship you in spirit and in truth, a worship celebrated everywhere in sacramental form, a worship that fulfills and proclaims  what you enacted by offering your own body and blood. No other victim is needed. We are to offer our hearts and our lives as Christ bids us. As there is now a single sacrifice so now there is a single Kingdom formed of all the peoples of the earth. Now we know clearly and fully all that we need to do to please our God. Now we see the path into his eternal peace and joy. It is eternal love with all our hearts, and minds and strength (Pope St. Leo the Great).

When Jesus entered Jerusalem like a triumphant conqueror, many were astonished at the majesty of his bearing; but when a short while afterward he entered upon his passion, his appearance was ignoble, an object of derision. If today’s procession and passion are considered together, in the one Jesus appears as sublime and glorious, in the other as lowly and suffering. The procession makes us think of the honor reserved for a king, whereas the passion shows us the punishment due to a thief. In the one Jesus is surrounded by glory and honor, in the other “he has neither dignity nor beauty.” In the one he is the joy of all and the glory of the people, in the other“ the butt of men and the laughing stock of the people.” In the one he receives the acclamation: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes as the king of Israel”; in the other there are shouts that he is guilty of death and he is reviled for having set himself up as king of Israel. In the procession the people meet Jesus with palm branches, in the passion they slap him in the face and strike his head with a rod. In the one they extol him with praises, in the other they heap insults upon him. In the one they compete to lay their clothes in his path, in the other he is stripped of his own clothes. In the one he is welcomed to Jerusalem as a just king and savior, in the other he is thrown out of the city as a criminal, condemned as an impostor. In the one he is mounted on an ass and accorded every mark of honor; in the other he hangs on the wood of the cross, torn by whips, pierced with wounds, and abandoned by his own. If, then, we want to follow our leader without stumbling through prosperity and through adversity, let us keep our eyes upon him, honored in the procession, undergoing ignominy and suffering in the passion, yet unshakably steadfast in all such changes of fortune (Guerric of Igny).

The Church has prepared us step by step for this sacred experience [of Holy Week].... Each week the sound rose higher, and louder. Although Mother Church often spoke about the Cross and the resurrection, she did so in veiled signs and figures, as if she feared exposing a most precious object to profane eyes. Not until this moment does she remove the curtain. Now we see the Holy of Holies; and more than that, we are asked to participate in the most sublime drama of religious history.…We should not call it a week of mourning, for Cross and resurrection are inseparable. Christ’s redemptive work did not end with death, it continues on in the victory of His resurrection. Therefore, we must not separate the passion from the resurrection, but rather regard the Cross as the way to Easter victory. The liturgy does not make this week one of sorrowful lamentation or tearful sympathising with our suffering Lord. That was the medieval approach. No, through the whole week there runs a note of victory and joy, a realisation that Christ’s sacred passion was a prerequisite to Easter glory. We cannot understand the Church’s liturgy unless we keep this in mind (Fr. Pius Parsch).

Have we really understood the impoverishment that Christ endured? All was taken from him during the passion, even including the love that drove him to the cross. No longer did he savor his own love of God, no longer did he feel any spark of enthusiasm. His heart gave out, and a feeling of utter helplessness came over him. Truly he emptied himself. God’s merciful hand no longer sustained him. God’s countenance was hidden during the passion. Christ gaped into the darkness of nothingness and abandonment where God seemed to be no longer present. The Son of Man reached his destiny, stretched taut between a despising earth that had rejected him and a faceless heaven thundering God’s “No!” to sinful humankind. Jesus paid the price of human futility; he became utterly poor. In this total renunciation Jesus perfected and proclaimed in action what had taken place in the depths of his being. He professed and accepted our humanity; he took on and endured our lot; he stepped down from his divinity. He came to us where we really are—with our broken dreams and lost hopes, with the meaning of existence slipping through our fingers. He came and stood with us. He came struggling with his whole heart to help us say “Yes!” to our innate human poverty.  God’s fidelity to us is what gives us the courage to be true to ourselves! The legacy of God’s total commitment to humankind, the proof of God’s fidelity to our poverty, is the cross. The cross is the sacrament of poverty of spirit, and so the sacrament of authentic humanness in a sinful world. It is a sign that one human remained true to his humanity, that one person accepted his humanity in full and did so in obedience  to God. Hanging in utter weakness on the cross, Christ revealed the divine meaning of human existence. It says something for everyone. We hear that some Jews and some pagans find the cross scandalous and foolish. Today too, for enlightened humanitarians the cross often provokes only irony or weary skepticism. Such advocates of another kind of “humanity” are indifferent to the cross, too much so even to find it a scandal. What, then, is the cross to you  and me? (Fr. Johannes Baptist Metz).

The passion of Jesus Christ is not only a great human drama. Christians have seen in it the decisive moment when God himself has drawn near and made himself known. When we think of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ, we are not primarily recalling the fate of an individual, however, inspiring that may be. We are meditating on the mystery of God, for here we believe, the ultimate reality is revealed at its deepest level. And what we learn about that reality is both shattering and strengthening. It is shattering because it contradicts all our conventional ideas of God. The lonely figure of Jesus Christ, following the way of the cross, seems not so much the revelation of God as rather the contradiction of everything that has been commonly believed about God. Almighty God is our usual way of addressing him, and even Christians have tended to think of God as a celestial monarch, disposing of the world according to his sovereign will, untouched and untroubled by the storms which rage below. This is surely a terrible misunderstanding. The point is that we are being invited to see God in the Son in this despised, rejected, suffering figure, not to look away from him to some distant sapphire throne, as if the reality were rather than here, and if what we see on Calvary is a bad dream obscuring reality. To think in that way would be to miss the whole meaning of incarnation and passion, which is that God comes among us in weakness and humility to stand with us in the midst of creation (Fr. John Macquarrie).

The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches from palm trees and went out to meet him shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus is the model for all human persons, the universal human being, as it were. Jesus shows us the enormous potentialities hidden within us. By letting God enter our lives and very selves we make it possible for them to be realized. Jesus is coming to us and not just to an ancient city. According to Paul’s great hymn to God’s humility, the divine Person of the Word, source of everything that exists, didn’t cling to the divine dignity or condition or prerogatives, but threw them all away. It is as though God had a need not to act like God. In creating, God, in a sense, dies. God is not alone but completely involved in the evolution of creatures. God makes them so lovable! So Christ emptied himself of the divine power that could have protected him and instead opened himself in complete vulnerability. Think of his stretching out his arms on the cross to embrace all human suffering. In the most real sense, we too are the body of God. We are a “new humanity” in which the Word becomes flesh. We too can be in the service of the Divine Word. God experiences human life through our senses, our emotions, our thoughts. Each of us gives the eternal Word a new way in which to disclose infinite potentiality (Fr. Thomas Keating).

 [There is no homily today].

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may join Christ in letting go of control and power, and allow the Spirit of God to sustain and renew us each day.

For all who are suffering for the sake of others: that God will give them strength, help them to serve without looking for a reward, and draw them closer to Jesus through their deeds of service.

For all who have been humiliated or unjustly accused: that God will give them strength, heal their pain, and help them find their value in being children of the Father.

For all who have been condemned to death: that God’s Spirit will help them turn to God and find hope and peace.

For governmental leaders: that God will help them to lay aside personal gain and follow the example of Christ in making service of those in need a guiding principle of their work.

For all who are experiencing loss and small deaths in their lives: that God will sustain them through loss of health, employment, or relationships, accompany them through their pain, and lead them into new life.

For all refugees and displaced persons: that God will guide them to safety, open the hearts of many to accompany and support them, and help them to reconnect with loved ones and faith communities.

For peace, particularly in Ukraine and Israel-Palestine: that the passion of Christ will break down the barriers in the hearts of opponents and for those killed and wounded in the violence: that they may experience God’s unconditional love in this life and in the life to come.

O God of eternal glory,  you anointed Jesus, your servant, to bear our sins,  to encourage the weary, to raise up and restore the fallen. Keep before our eyes the splendour of the paschal mystery of Christ, and, by our sharing in the passion and resurrection,  seal our lives with the victorious sign of his obedience and exaltation. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998),

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Motet (Is 53:4-5, Kevin Sadowski)


Surely he has born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: on him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn