Sunday, April 9, 2017 Sunday of the Passion / Palm Sunday Introduction
Today’s liturgy begins with a palm procession, commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Quickly the tone of the service changes as we meditate upon Jesus’ passion and death. Because this story is so central to our faith, we hear Matthew’s account of the passion today and John’s version on Good Friday. Though Jesus is obedient even unto death on the cross, he is exalted by God. We gather to remember his offering for the life of the world, and to be fed by his life-giving mercy. This holy week will culminate in the celebration of the Three Days of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.
Processional Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
Jesus enters Jerusalem
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a
The servant of the Lord expresses absolute confidence in his final vindication, despite the fact that he has been struck and spit upon. This characteristic of the servant played an important role in the early church’s understanding of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Ps. 31:5)
Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Paul uses an early Christian hymn to help us comprehend Jesus’ obedient selflessness on the cross and how God has made Christ lord over all reality. The perspective of the cross becomes the way we rightly understand God, Christ, our own lives, and fellowship within the community of Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 26:14–27:66
In fulfillment of scripture and obedience to God’s will, Jesus goes to the cross so that a new covenant in his blood may bring forgiveness of sins. Even the soldiers who crucify him recognize him to be the Son of God.
Prayer of the Day
Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.