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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, April 17, 2011

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

April 17, Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Cycle A Readings:

Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11

1) Isaiah 50:4-7

Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24

2) Philippians 2:6-11

Gospel: Matthew 26:14 to 27:66

We see it all the time: an actor or athlete who falls from grace. We celebrate the person on the way up the ladder of fame and happily gawk as they disgracefully tumble down to the bottom. The most recent example of this is Charlie Sheen, but he is not alone. He is not the first to win fame and have a huge following only to be left alone in his hour of need.

There is something strange in the human condition that allows us to celebrate the greatness of another person one week and then stand by and watch the same person be beaten, stumble, fall and sometimes even die while we enjoy the show.

This, of course, is nothing new. In fact, it goes back 2,000 years. Jesus' public ministry was an enormous success. In just three years, without the benefit of radio and TV, he had captured the imagination of a whole people.

Sure, some did not like how he upset the status quo; others were totally enveloped by his divine power in human form and some were not happy with the type of Messiah he was shaping up to be. It was a love-him-or-hate-him kind of scenario.

We know how the story plays out. One week Jesus is celebrated, and the next he is brutally beaten. The bystanders who wave their fists and shout, "Crucify him!" had only days earlier waved branches and sung, "Blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest."

And so it is with us each year on Passion Sunday. We, too, shout, "Hosanna," and "Crucify him!" May we shout both with vigor as both are part of the pathway to our salvation. Throughout the journey of Holy Week, Jesus moves from glory to defeat to glory, and he takes us along for the ride. But this is no Charlie Sheen voyeur ride. This is a full and active participatory experience!


In what ways do I sing "Hosanna in the highest!" by the way I live my life? In what ways do I shout "Crucify him!" by the way I live my life?


"Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9).


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