Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, Year A

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Lectionary: 38
Read Sunday's Gospel: Matthew 26:14-27:66

Gospel Summary
Each year on this Sunday we follow the events of Jesus' life from the time he entered Jerusalem until the point where he was laid in the tomb after his crucifixion. Jesus first entered Jerusalem riding a donkey amid waving palm leaves. It was in Jerusalem that he foretold Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, and established the Eucharist at the Passover meal. Jesus took his disciples into Gethsemane to pray, but they could not stay awake with him. In the garden, Jesus was turned over to the authorities, tried before the Sanhedrin, brought to Pilate, and sentenced to death. When offered a choice during the festival to release a prisoner, the people chose the release of Barabbas. Their choice was beyond Pilate's comprehension, so he symbolically washed his hands of the whole deal. Jesus was turned over to the Roman authorities for crucifixion and mocked by them. Finally, Jesus died on the cross. The earth darkened and quaked. He was prepared quickly for burial and laid in the tomb.

Reflection for Families
There is much to reflect on in this reading. One interesting note, however, is the different responses Judas and Peter had when they came face to face with their rejection of Christ. After his three denials, Peter "wept bitterly."These tears of regret led the way to reconciliation when Peter first encountered the risen Christ. Judas, on the other hand, knew what he did was wrong, but he couldn't face the hopelessness his actions brought. To relieve the pain of what he had done, Judas took his own life. Some days it is difficult (even beyond measure) to be a parent. The lesson we learn today is that reconciliation and healing bring us long-term joy instead of living in the harsh bitterness of despair.

Bringing the Gospel Into Your Family
Either in your parish or some outside setting, pray the Stations of the Cross. Many booklets are available (ask at your parish or local religious bookstore) for families to follow the Passion of Jesus. If possible, allow the children to lead the prayer at some of the stations.

Discussion Starters
1. The part of Jesus' Passion that means the most to me (and why) is . . .
2. I know how Peter felt. One time I knew what the right thing was to do, but was afraid to do it. I remember feeling . . .
3. One incident of reconciliation I remember that brought about significant healing was ...


Posted in: Gospel Reflections A