St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Readings and Reflections for Palm Sunday

The Liturgy of the Palms

Mark 11:1-11
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

The Liturgy of the Word

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11 
Mark 14:1-15:47

Dear Friends,

Liturgy of the Palms:  We remember and enact the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The prophet Zephaniah described a messianic figure who would come to the city on a donkey, and so it seems Jesus deliberately confronts the authorities with a claim that demands a response.  Later when Jesus overturns the money tables and clears the sheep and cattle from the temple, he puts an exclamation point on this claim!  We know how they will respond.

The Passion of our Lord: Along with the Gospel reading of Jesus’ betrayal, suffering and death,  the lessons at the Eucharist also refer to Christ as the one who is obedient and rejected (Isaiah), and obedient to death on a cross (Philippians).  The passage from Philippians goes on to declare the exaltation and glorification of Jesus, so that even on Passion Sunday, we are a people who rejoice in the power of God who raises Jesus. We do not celebrate human suffering, but God who acts for us in costly ways.

Comment: People who “rock the boat” are not welcome in any context.  The words and actions of Jesus are too much for the leaders of Jerusalem to bear, and they move to have him silenced permanently.  The truth is that anyone who is prepared to follow Christ is going to “rock the boat” when, to borrow from the St. Francis prayer, they “sow love where there is hatred” and “light where there is darkness.”  No one wants their prejudices and comforts unsettled.  May we have the courage to walk with Christ in this “sowing” of God’s life”, trusting the Lord who will meet us even in death.

 David S. Robinson, Rector

Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002