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Welcome to our Bible Study. Palm Sunday C March 24, 2013 In preparation for this Sunday’s liturgy As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing. Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM. 1 st Reading: Isaiah 50,4-7.
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Welcome to our Bible Study Palm Sunday C March 24, 2013 In preparation for this Sunday’s liturgy As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM
1st Reading: Isaiah 50,4-7 • 4 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; 5 And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. 6 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. 7 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. The focus is on submission.
1st Reading: Isaiah 50,4-7 A simple outline! God’s goodness/graciousness upon his servant • 4 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; Servant’s submissiveness (no vengeance) • 5 And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. 6 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. God’s goodness • 7 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.
Textual Context of Is 50,4-7 Is 40-55 Book of Consolation (NAB) • The Lord’s Glory in Israel’s Liberation (40-48) • Expiation of Sin, Spiritual Liberation of Israel (49-55) • Return of the First Captives (56-66)
God’s goodness/graciousness upon his servant 4 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 Servant’s submissiveness (no vengeance) 5 And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. 6 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. God’s goodness 7 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. Commentary The text is a “suffering servant song.” V.4 talks about God’s goodness to the servant, concretized in his gift of “well-trained tongue” (empowering tongue, inspiring, energizing); another is the gift of hearing (receptivity). In vv.5-6, the suffering servant takes pride in not taking vengeance when oppressed, when physically violated. Instead, he is submissive and vulnerable. V.7 gives the explanation why the servant is not avoiding his enemies and why he is not defending himself. “The Lord God is my help.” In his suffering, the servant does not feel disgraced or shamed. He holds himself. (Hawak niya ang kanyang sarili.) 1st Reading: Isaiah 50,4-7
Reflections on the 1st reading • To the faithful servant, the violence or the injustice done upon him is just a waste of time, a waste of energy, and an exercise in futility on the part of the oppressor. • The implication here is that the violent man must stop doing his foolishness. • Likewise, those who experience violence must also have a deep relationship with God, in order to cope with the situation. • If we do not have a deep spirituality (deep prayer life and sense of purpose), we cannot survive amidst persecutions. (We run away, we develop coping mechanisms which could be addictive.)
Further Reflections • Does God condone oppression? • Why does God allow injustices / violence to happen? • No one who is in his right mind can justify oppression, violence, injustice and all other forms of human right violations. • Pope Benedict XVI once said, “No one should use religion to justify violence.” • All these uncharitable and criminal acts should be stopped at all cost. • In this Year of Faith, we are asked to give witness to faith in the midst of persecution.
Resp. Psalm Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 • R. (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?8 All who see me scoff at me;they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:9 “He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,let him rescue him, if he loves him.” • 17 Indeed, many dogs surround me,a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;18 They have pierced my hands and my feet;I can count all my bones. • 19 They divide my garments among them,and for my vesture they cast lots.20 But you, O LORD, be not far from me;O my help, hasten to aid me. • 23I will proclaim your name to my brethren;in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:24 “You who fear the LORD, praise him;all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R. (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?8 All who see me scoff at me;they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:9 “He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,let him rescue him, if he loves him.” 17 Indeed, many dogs surround me,a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;18 They have pierced my hands and my feet;I can count all my bones. 19 They divide my garments among them,and for my vesture they cast lots.20 But you, O LORD, be not far from me;O my help, hasten to aid me. 23I will proclaim your name to my brethren;in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:24 “You who fear the LORD, praise him;all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;revere him, all you descendants of Israel!” Commentary The psalm somehow puts into prayer the experience of the suffering servant in the first reading. In vv.8-9, the psalmist suffers from scoffs and mockery. In vv.17, the psalmist is surrounded by so many enemies. Vv.18-19 describe his crucifixion. (also Jesus’ crucifixion) V.20 is a prayer of hope. In vv.23-24, the psalmist promises to praise God before the people. He also exhorts all Israelites to do the same. Resp. Psalm Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Reflections on the Psalm • We may be badly beaten by our enemies, but like the psalmist, we must pray to God for deliverance. • In times of extreme physical and psychological torture and pain, let us not forget to have recourse in God. • God will maintain our sanity. • God will not fail us. He will make us victorious. We will end up praising him.
2nd reading: Philippians 2,6-11 • 6 Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, 8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The focus is on the emptying of Christ.
2nd reading: Philippians 2,6-11 A simple outline! Jesus’ Emptying • 6 Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, 8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Exaltation of Jesus • 9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Textual Context of Phil 2,6-11 • I. Address (1,1-11) • II. Progress of the Gosel (1,12-26) • III. Instructions for the Community (1,27—2,18) • IV. Travel Plans of Paul and His Assistants) 2,19—3,1) • V. Polemic: Righteousness and the Goal in Christ (3,2-21) • VI. Instructions for the Community (4,1-9) • VII. Gratitude for the Philippians’ Generosity (4,10-20) • VIII. Farewell (4,21-23)
Jesus’ Emptying 6 Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, 8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Exaltation of Jesus 9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Commentary The text speaks of Paul’s deep reflection on the mystery of Christ. It is divided into 2 parts: Vv.6-8 talk about Jesus’ emptying himself of his own divinity, incarnating into a human being, emptying (humbling) further into death, and further into a death of a criminal. Jesus submitted himself to the lowest form of existence, lowest kind of indignity and humiliation. Sagad ang humility niya, down to the bottom. Vv.9-11, the second part, speaks of the reward (inversion) for his total and utter emptying: Name above every name, every knee bends, every tongue confess, “JC is Lord.” Paul captures well the meaning of Jesus’ mystery. He expounds the meaning of the incarnation of Jesus, his total self-giving on Calvary and his vindication (resurrection). It was just right for him to suffer and die, in obedience to the Father. 2nd reading: Philippians 2,6-11
Reflections on the 2nd reading • What kind of foolishness is this? God becoming human, a human being, submitting himself to die without dignity. • What is the philosophy behind humility (incarnation, dying on the cross, dying a criminal’s death)? • Is humility / emptying really the path to salvation, to God’s glory? • The text says yes. • We may not agree, but this is the path God ordained for his son to do and complete his job. • Human as we are, we avoid being humiliated. We want to preserve our honor. We want others to treat us nicely. • Precisely, Jesus is now in his glory, because he subjected himself to his tormentors. He obeyed God’s mysterious plan. • He did not gain back his glory, by bargaining or by mitigating his self-emptying.
False accusations 1 Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. 2 They brought charges against him, saying, "We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king." Pilate says he is not guilty 3 Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." 4 Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, "I find this man not guilty." False accusations (con’t) 5 But they were adamant and said, "He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here." Commentary In v.1, the people drag Jesus to Pilate. V.2 enumerates their accusations: Misleading the people Opposes payment of taxes Claims to be the messiah, king In v.3, Pilate interviews Jesus. In v.4, Pilate does not find Jesus guilty of their accusations. In v.5, the chief priests disagree with Pilate and they further accuse him of inciting a rebellion. He began doing it in Galilee, now he is brainwashing the people in Judea. Whatever the chief priests say reveal their hypocrisy. They act as if they love the Romans. Gospel: Luke 22,14--23,56 or Lk 23,1-49
Pilate to Herod (Jesus, Galilean, not Judean) 6 On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; 7 and upon learning that he was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. 8 Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. 9 He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. In v.6, Pilate clarifies if Jesus is a Galilean (from the North). In v.7, upon learning that Jesus is a Galilean, Pilate sends him to Herod (Antipas), a ruler of Galilee, who is only visiting at that time. In v.8, the focus is on Herod (son of Herod the Great, 37-4 BC). He wants to see Jesus for some entertainment. In v.9, Herod asks Jesus a lot of questions, but the latter does not answer. No entertainment. Jesus is not an entertainer.
Chief priests (Sadducees) and scribes accuse 10 The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Mocking 11 (Even) Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate: Jesus not guilty 12 Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. 13 Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people 14 and said to them, "You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, 15 nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. 16 Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." In v.10, the chief priests and the scribes are very strong in accusing Jesus. What’s their problem? In v.11, Herod participates in making fun of Jesus. His soldiers follow him. They now make an entertainment out of Jesus. In v.12, Herod and Pilate become friends; they were formerly enemies. (Did they see each other?) In vv.13-15, Pilate summons the chief priests, leaders and the people. Pilate and Herod find no offense of Jesus that deserves capital punishment. In v.16, Pilate decides to flog him, before releasing him. (Why, if Jesus is innocent, did Pilate not release him right away.)
Release Barabbas, crucify Jesus 17 18 But all together they shouted out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us." 19 (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) 20 Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, 21 but they continued their shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" 22 Pilate addressed them a third time, "What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." Pilate gives in 23 With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. 24 The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. 25 So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished. There is no v.17. In v.18, the people prefer Barabbas to be released. V.19 indicates the crime of Barabbas (rebellion) In v.20, Pilate reiterates Jesus’ release. In v.21, they keep on shouting, “Crucify him.” In v.22, for the third time, Pilate wants to release Jesus. In v.23, they, with their loud voices, prevail over Pilate. In v.24, Pilate grants their demand. He releases Barabbas who is guilty of rebellion and murder. He gives Jesus to them. V.25
Simon of Cyrene 26 As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. People following 27 A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. 28 Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, 29 for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' 30 At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' 31 for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" In v.26, they take Jesus away from Pilate. Along the way, they ask Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross. In v.27, a large crowd of people = those who sympathize with Jesus. The women who mourn are women disciples of Jesus. They could not do anything for him. V.28 specify the women as women of Jerusalem. Vv.29-31 somehow poetically touch the punishment for the guilty. It would have been better if the women did not bear children.
Two criminals and crucifixion 32 Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus’ Prayer 34 (Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.") In v.32, two criminals are led away, to be executed with Jesus. In v.33, they crucify Jesus and the two criminals. In v.34, Jesus prays for the forgiveness of his crucifiers. The first of the Seven Last Words of Jesus comes from Luke.
Further insults, from all quarters 34b They divided his garments by casting lots. 35 The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." 36 Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine 37 they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." 38 Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." 39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." Other things done to Jesus as he hangs on the cross: They divide his garments. V.34b The rulers sneer at him. V.35 The soldiers jeer at him. V.36 They dare him to save himself. V.37 They inscribe “King of the Jews.” v.38 One of the criminals revile him. V.39 To all these, it is easy to respond, but Jesus chooses not to. He is focused on doing God’s will. It is time to die. There is no escaping even if it is possible.
The good thief, positive on Jesus 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." The promise 43 He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.“ The death of Jesus 44 It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon 45 because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. 46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last. In v.40, the other criminal shows sympathy with Jesus. In v.41, he says Jesus is innocent. He does not deserve to die. In v.42, he expresses his belief in Jesus to which Jesus responds positively. V.43 It is the second of the Last Word of Jesus, in the devotional practice of Good Friday. Vv.44-45 situate the death of Jesus. Darkness from noon to 3 PM, due to eclipse Veil of the Temple torn down. In v.46, Jesus cries with a loud voice, quotes Psalm 31, 4 and dies.
The centurion, good man; people, repented 47 The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond doubt." 48 When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; 49 but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events. After the death of Jesus, there is no more taunting. Instead, Luke presents now the other side, the fruit of his sufferings and death: In v.47, the centurion(military officer in charge of 100 soldiers), makes a correct conclusion after witnessing everything. In v.48, the people who witnessed all that had happened go home repentant. In v.49, Jesus’ friends and women disciples from Galilee remain at a distance. They too see the events. The events (the totality of what happened to Jesus) make them realize that Jesus indeed comes from God.
Reflections on the passion narrative • There was no due process, there was no fair trial on Jesus. • Jesus was doomed to die because of false accusations; he did not defend himself. • Herod and Pilate were hesitant to condemn Jesus. They saw no crime committed by him. • Yet, the voice of the chief priests, rulers and the people became louder and Pilate gave in. • An innocent man can be easily victimized by those who noisily disagree.
Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm • The first reading talks about the suffering servant of the Lord. He is submissive to his oppressors. • The psalm is the prayer of the suffering servant. • The second reading talks about Jesus’ submission to the will of his Father (to become a human being and to die on the cross). • The gospel reading demonstrates how Jesus concretely submits himself to unfair trial, unfair people and unfair system.
How todevelop your homily and sharing • The homily must be short, because the gospel reading is very long. Give time for people to reflect. You may develop the theme of submission (obedience) to the will of God. • The way to glory is submission to the will of God; there is no other way. • Unfortunately, this world refuses to submit to God’s way; because it offers another kind of glory (much money, prestige and power) which cannot be attained by submission, but by deceit and manipulation.
To be able to appreciate the theme, one must be fully converted to Jesus. Paul has experienced it and was willing to undergo the same. The apostles chose the path of martyrdom. The saints, who came later, taught perseverance in suffering. The suffering servant in the Old Testament is a good example of what is to be submissive. Submission is faith at work. Actively resisting makes the oppressor more determined to do his foolishness.
In order not to repeat the same mistakes, the faithful must be reminded that they should not be oppressive, unjust, violent, and should not cause pain to others. No sorrow or sickness can justify inflicting pain on our caregivers, loved ones, colleagues and our servants. Let us not use ignorant /naive authorities to condemn the innocent. Let us not bully them.
All those uncharitable words and actions and unnecessary side comments should be avoided by Christians at all times. We should not identify ourselves with the chief priests and scribes who did not submit themselves to Jesus Herod and Pilate who submitted themselves to the wrong persons the people who submitted themselves to the noisy minority (authority). Their submission to Jesus at the triumphal entry was short lived.
We should identify ourselves with • the women disciples who stood by Jesus. • the disciples who saw meaning in the events, and who became repentant. • the centurion who acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. • They all submitted themselves to Jesus.
The eucharist is a sacrament of submission to God’s will and our loyalty to him no matter what. In the eucharist, we share in the passion and death of our Lord. In the eucharist, we give meaning to our own pains and deaths. The eucharist gives us strength to endure more sufferings and submit to God’s mysterious plan.
Hostile Judgmental Rash judgment Too sure of oneself False accusation Manipulation Retaliation Vindictive Bullying Unwilling to suffer and sacrifice (mahinang klaseng pagkatao) Supreme sacrifice Martyrdom Quietly enduring pains Submission, not fighting back, if it is time to give oneself totally Obedience to God Our Context of Sin and Grace The End
Suggested Songs • Paano Namin Masasabi • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ICZUOf_jNo • Ang Diyos ay Pag-ibig • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYlwrj7JwU • I love you all • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxaP-9mLXCE • Five Wounds (For Good Friday) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuTSQqai0-0