Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion (A)
April 02, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Two processions entering Jerusalem, Two opposing kingdoms on display. Which of these processions are we part of? Which one will we follow on its way?

Will we shout “Hail Pilate” or “Hosanna” When we have a choice whose praise to sing? Will we trust the violent mighty ruler? Will we trust the peaceful peasant king?

Two processions entering Jerusalem, Power of love against the love of power. Will we choose the path of domination? Will we let compassion have its hour?

God has had a dream of joyful justice. Rome has spun a nightmare of neglect. If we join the commonwealth of servants We may bring God’s joy and justice yet.

Two processions entering Jerusalem: Realm of hope, dominion built on fear. As we choose the path that love has opened, We will see the realm of hope draw near.


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,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the
human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to
take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross,
giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant
that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share
in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen. (BCP)

God of all,
you gave your only-begotten Son to take the form of a servant,
and to be obedient even to death on a cross.
Give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
that, sharing in his humility,
we may come to be with him in his glory,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCW)

First Reading Isaiah 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
   a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
   a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
   he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
   have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
   my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
   from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
   therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
   knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm

 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

All who see me scoff at me;
   they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
   let him rescue him, if he loves him.”

Indeed, many dogs surround me,
   a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
   I can count all my bones.

They divide my garments among them,
   and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
   O my help, hasten to aid me.

I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
   in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
   all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”

Second Reading Philippians 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   coming in human likeness;
   and found human in appearance,
   he humbled himself,
   becoming obedient to the point of death,
   even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
   and bestowed on him the name
   which is above every name,
   that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
   and every tongue confess that
   Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.

Verse before the Gospel Phil 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Matthew

Reflection Questions

  1. What sustains you when you are weary?
  2. Where has self-emptying been most challenging or most rewarding?
  3. Which of the characters in the passion narrative do you identify with most and would like to accompany you during this Holy Week?

Catena Nova

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity. 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. In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens – the proof, surely, of his power and godhead – his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven. 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. (St. Andrew of Crete)

Because of all he had done, the simple people believed in the Lord not only with a silent faith, but with a faith that proclaimed his divinity both by word and by deed. After raising Lazarus, who had been dead four days, the Lord found the young donkey his disciples had brought for him, as the Evangelist Matthew relates. Seated on it he entered Jerusalem, in fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah: Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold your king comes to you, the just one, the saviour. He is gentle, and rides on a beast of burden, on the colt of a donkey. By these words the Prophet shows that Christ was the king he was foretelling, the only true king of Zion. He is saying: ‘Your king will not frighten those who look upon him; he is not an overbearing kind of person, or an evildoer. He does not come with a bodyguard, an armed escort, at the head of hosts of cavalry and foot soldiers. Nor does he live by extortion, demanding taxes and the payment of tribute and ignoble services, hurtful to those who perform them. No, he is recognized by his lowliness, poverty, and frugality, for he enters the city riding on a donkey, and with no crowd of attendants. Therefore, this king alone is just, and in justice he saves. He is also meek, meekness is his own special characteristic. In fact, the Lord’s own words regarding himself were: Learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.’ He who raised Lazarus from the dead enters Jerusalem today as king, seated on a donkey. Almost at once all the people, children and grownups, young and old alike, spread their garments on the road; and taking palm branches, symbols of victory, they went to meet him as the giver of life and conqueror of death. They worshipped him, and formed an escort. Within the temple precincts as well as without they sang with one voice, Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna In the highest! This hosanna is a hymn of praise addressed to God. It means, ‘Lord, save us.’ The other words, in the highest, show that God is praised not only on earth by human beings, but also on high by the angels of heaven. (St. Gregory Palamas)

It was fitting that we who had fallen because of a tree might rise up because of a tree. Fitting that the one who had con­quered by means of a tree might also be conquered by means of a tree. Fitting that we who had eaten the fruit of death from a tree might be given the fruit of life from a tree. And because we had fallen from the security of that most blessed place on earth into this great, expansive sea,it was fitting that wood should be made ready to carry us across it. For no one cross­es the sea except on wood, or this world except on the Cross. (St. Aelred of Rievaulx)

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. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

If today’s procession is considered together with the Lord’s passion, we see Jesus as sublime and glorious and simultaneously as lowly and suffering. The procession makes us think of the honor a king receives, whereas the passion reminds us of the punishments inflicted on criminals. Apply this to your own ways of receiving Jesus. At one time we want to follow and be like him; but at another we flee from what we see and hope that it will never befall us…. What makes it so difficult to follow our genuine leader? Perhaps it is a love for prosperity and a fear of hard or bad times. Can’t we keep our eyes upon him as we see him in the procession and so honor him and seek to imitate and be close to him? Do we have to flee from the sight of his ignominy and suffering for fear we might share in it? He was unshakably steadfast in all changes and trials and that it what we need to pray to be. Lord Jesus, you are the joy and salvation of the entire world. Whether we see you sitting on an ass, as the sign that you come in peace and bring good times, or see you hanging on the cross for our sins because we have connived at injustice and oppression in its many forms, let us now seek to be with you and at least begin to imitate you. Help us to pray, and long for, your reign on earth as on high and help us be changed so that we always praise you and seek to belong to you whatever that may cost. To you be glory and praise forever! (Bl. Guerric of Igny)

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) 

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. (St. Oscar Romero)

(There is no homily this week)

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may strive to have the same mind as Christ as we offer our lives in loving service to others.

For courage: that God’s love will sustain us in times of suffering and rejection, and help us to trust in God’s providence each day. 

For the Elect and the Candidates for Full Communion: that they may enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s unconditional love through the celebrations of Holy Week.

For all who have been condemned to death: that the Spirit of God will lead them to conversion and into new life.

For all who have experienced abandonment, betrayal or rejection: that God’s Spirit will comfort them, help them to hold fast to the truth, and lead them to new communities.

For leaders of government and business: that through the example of Jesus, they may recognize how to be servant leaders and give priority to the needs of the most vulnerable.

For all who work in the legal system, for judges, attorneys, and juries: that they may always respect the dignity of both the injured and accused parties and work diligently to find the truth.

For all who are grieving: that God will comfort them, bring supportive people to accompany them, and fill their hearts with peace.

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

In passione positus Jesus, cum pro nobis oblatus est, tremens ait: tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem vigilate mecum. Et factus est in agonia orabat dicens: Pater mi, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste et clamans in cruce dicens: Deus, Deus meus ut quid dereliquisti me in manus tuas Domine commendo Spiritum meum consummatum est.

In his Passion, Jesus, when sacrificed for us, cried out trembling: My soul is sad unto death. Watch with me. And in his agony, pleading, he said: My Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me; Into thy hands O Lord I commend my spirit. It is finished.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn


O Saviour of the world, who by thy cross and precious blood hast redeemed us.

Save us and help us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord. Amen.