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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, March 24, 2013

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

March 24, Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Isaiah 50:4-7

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

2) Philippians 2:6-11

Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56

There are "night people" and there are "morning people." I am the latter. I'm at my best early in the day. It's also my favorite time to pray, for several reasons.

One reason is that by the evening I'm simply worn out and am more apt to fall asleep than to pray. Also, in the morning, I haven't yet been challenged with the responsibilities of the day, so I'm open, "empty" and disposed to listen to God.

Finally, I find that when those inevitable daily challenges come, I am already oriented to discern and respond to them in a God-focused way. My life becomes less about me and my problems and more about God's will and God's providence.

The readings for Palm Sunday provide us with a narrative of the sufferings of Jesus and his climactic surrender to his Father's will. It's an account that we've heard and read so many times before that we can all too easily minimize its significance. "Jesus is the Son of God," we think, so of course he is able to endure the physical torture of the cross and the emotional anguish of ridicule and abandonment. No problem.

But St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians reminds us that it was not Jesus' "equality with God" that was on display at Calvary, but his very human act of self-emptying. I maintain that Jesus' humble self-surrender didn't simply begin in the week of his passion; it had already been formed and matured through the habit of constant prayer and communion with his Father.

Jesus' abilities to not turn back, to give his "back to those who beat" him, to follow through with his own test on the cross, were schooled in him long before Calvary, in the treasured classroom of early morning prayer when his mind and body were most disposed to listening to the love language of his Father.

I wish I were more consistent in my early morning prayer. My best intentions often falter. It's a discipline I'm trying to cultivate, however, so that I can become closer to my Father, more receptive to his goodness and more obedient to his plan for me.


At what time of day are you at your best? How can you cultivate a habit of prayer so that you are in communion with God throughout the day?


"Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear." -- Isaiah 50:4


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