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Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, Year C

Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


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GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

...So, to begin with, Luke’s passion narrative starts with an account of the coming of the feast of Passover and the account of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist, much like the gospels of Matthew and Mark. However, Luke tells us something unique about the Last Supper account when he describes Jesus’ words to the Apostles about sitting on twelve tribes of Israel and also about his particular prayer for Peter as the leader of the twelve. So let’s read that text. In Luke 22:28-34, Luke gives us these words. After instituting the Eucharist, Jesus says to the Apostles:

"You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then Jesus says:

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." And he said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." He said, "I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.

Okay, so notice here something really significant about Luke’s account. First, Luke (and Luke alone) tells us that during the Last Supper, Jesus appoints a share in his royal identity as king to the twelve apostles. Literally in the Greek, what Jesus says here, “As my father covenanted the kingdom for me, so I covenant to you, that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” So, effectively what Jesus is doing is constituting (in the figure of the Apostles) a new Israel, where they will rule over this new Israel, sitting on twelve thrones. Secondly, notice also that within these twelve Apostles who are going to reign over the new Israel, Simon Peter has pride of place. And it’s easy to miss that if you read it in English, but in Greek it’s really clear: when Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you”, the Greek word there is “you” in the plural. So if you wanted to translate it into English: “Satan has demanded to have ya’ll.” (I’m from the South, we have a 2nd person plural, it’s called “ya’ll”, and that’s what the Greek word there is.) Satan has demanded to have “you all”. “But I have prayed for you (singular) that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen you brethren.” So what Jesus is referring to here is two things: First, the unique role that Simon Peter has as leader of the twelve apostles and as the one who strengthens the brethren. And I just bring this up because (obviously) there’s a long standing debate about the origins of the papacy and the authority of the bishop of Rome and that kind of thing, but I want to highlight the fact that in Luke’s gospel, according to Luke, at the Last Supper Jesus singles Peter out as the one who has a special mission to strengthen the other apostles after he turns back from his fall of denying Jesus, and that Jesus prays a special prayer for Simon (and Simon alone) that his faith may not fail. I bring this up because in the Catholic Church we have the dogma of the infallibility of the pope, and many Catholics actually will point (and not incorrectly), they’ll point to the gospel of Matthew 16, where Jesus says, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” They’ll point to that passage as the foundation of papal primacy and papal infallibility, but what’s interesting is if you actually look at the definition of papal infallibility from Vatican 1 (and various Church Fathers), what you’ll see is the language of infallibility in Vatican 1 actually comes from Luke 22, Jesus’ prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail; the language of “not failing” is something that the Church is drawing on in the language of papal infallibility, with reference to Peter’s role as the supreme authority and doctrinal authority in the Church on earth, but also to his role of strengthening the other Apostles. I just bring this up because this is a really beautiful insight into the fact that Jesus, in the very midst of his passion, everything he’s about to face, everything he’s about to undergo, he’s still looking forward, beyond the cross, to the role that Peter is going to play as the chief of the Apostles and as the one who’s faith will not fail, because of the graces obtained for him by Christ in the upper room at the Last Supper....

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

Now, importantly, Paul doesn’t stop the hymn there though. It’s not where the story ends. It doesn’t end with the death of Christ; it ends with His resurrection and His exultation, His ascension into Heaven. So he says:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Alright, so three elements here that are important. Paul is describing the fourth step in the hymn, the resurrection and the ascension. So he’s dealt with the preexistence, then the birth, then the Passion and death, and now he concludes with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And the three elements He highlights here are first His exultation. So although other passages will speak of the ascension of Jesus, Paul describes it as His exultation. In other words, God the Father is exalting Jesus to Heaven, to the throne in Heaven, to the heavenly kingdom. It’s kind of like a triumphal entry into the heavenly throne where the one who was regarded as a slave is now actually revealed to be king. Second, he:

...bestowed on him the name which is above every name… (Philippians 2:9b)

Now what is that name? Well, on the one hand, the name is Jesus, right? Because Paul says:

...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… (Philippians 2:10a)

...and every tongue confess… (Philippians 2:11a)

And Jesus’ name literally means in Hebrew “the Lord saves.” So the name of Jesus is very powerful. It tells you both who He is and what He’s come to do. It reveals His identity and it reveals His mission.

But in context here, when Paul says:

...the name which is above every name… (Philippians 2:9b)

...he’s not just talking about the name of Jesus. Because it says that:

...every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… (Philippians 2:11a)

And the Greek word there is kyrios. It literally means “Lord,” and it could be applied to a king or to a lord. But in Jewish Scripture, if you look at the Jewish Scriptures, you’ll see that the word kyrios is the Greek translation for the Hebrew tetragrammaton—the four sacred letters, YHWH, that are the sacred and unpronounceable name of the Hebrew God, the name of the God of Israel.

And so what Paul seems to be describing here is that when Christ ascends to the throne, the entire cosmos—everyone in Heaven, everyone on the Earth and everyone under the Earth—will confess that Jesus Christ is the kyrios, that He is the Lord, that He is the one God of Israel who has come in person. And although human beings regarded him merely as a slave, merely as a man, and they put Him to death on the cross, the reality is that through that cross and through that death, He has now been raised from the dead and exulted to be revealed as equal to God the Father, and as sharing not just the glory, but the name of the one who also has the form of God. So He’s being revealed not just as Christ, the Anointed One, not just as Jesus the Savior, but as kyrios, as the Lord of Heaven and the Lord of Earth.

And if you have any doubts about that, all you have to do is go back and look at the Old Testament passage to which Paul is alluding. So in the Philippian hymn, Paul describes every knee bowing and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, but when he makes that image, he’s actually alluding to the passage from Isaiah...which may be one of the strongest affirmations of monotheism in the Old Testament, where Isaiah is insisting there is only one God. Listen to this in Isaiah 45:22 and following. It says, the Lord speaking:

“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.’

So notice...Paul takes a passage, which in Jewish Scripture is referring to the one God of Israel, to the Lord, in which the Lord says, “I am God. There is no other. To me, every knee will bow and every tongue confess.” And Paul takes that text, and he applies it to Jesus. And he says that when Jesus is exalted, then every knee shall bow…

...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11)

So what Paul’s beginning to reveal there is the mystery of what would later come to be known as the doctrine of the Trinity—that although there is one God, we have (in this hymn he mentions) two divine persons, the person of the Son who is in the form of God and equal to God, and the person of God the Father...and that when the Son is exalted to Heaven with his human nature, his human body in the ascension, every tongue will confess that He is in fact the Lord, the one God of Israel, “to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). So there’s a mystery of not just the cross, not just the resurrection, but also the mystery of the Trinity.

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Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


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GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

...So, to begin with, Luke’s passion narrative starts with an account of the coming of the feast of Passover and the account of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist, much like the gospels of Matthew and Mark. However, Luke tells us something unique about the Last Supper account when he describes Jesus’ words to the Apostles about sitting on twelve tribes of Israel and also about his particular prayer for Peter as the leader of the twelve. So let’s read that text. In Luke 22:28-34, Luke gives us these words. After instituting the Eucharist, Jesus says to the Apostles:

"You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then Jesus says:

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." And he said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." He said, "I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.

Okay, so notice here something really significant about Luke’s account. First, Luke (and Luke alone) tells us that during the Last Supper, Jesus appoints a share in his royal identity as king to the twelve apostles. Literally in the Greek, what Jesus says here, “As my father covenanted the kingdom for me, so I covenant to you, that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” So, effectively what Jesus is doing is constituting (in the figure of the Apostles) a new Israel, where they will rule over this new Israel, sitting on twelve thrones. Secondly, notice also that within these twelve Apostles who are going to reign over the new Israel, Simon Peter has pride of place. And it’s easy to miss that if you read it in English, but in Greek it’s really clear: when Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you”, the Greek word there is “you” in the plural. So if you wanted to translate it into English: “Satan has demanded to have ya’ll.” (I’m from the South, we have a 2nd person plural, it’s called “ya’ll”, and that’s what the Greek word there is.) Satan has demanded to have “you all”. “But I have prayed for you (singular) that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen you brethren.” So what Jesus is referring to here is two things: First, the unique role that Simon Peter has as leader of the twelve apostles and as the one who strengthens the brethren. And I just bring this up because (obviously) there’s a long standing debate about the origins of the papacy and the authority of the bishop of Rome and that kind of thing, but I want to highlight the fact that in Luke’s gospel, according to Luke, at the Last Supper Jesus singles Peter out as the one who has a special mission to strengthen the other apostles after he turns back from his fall of denying Jesus, and that Jesus prays a special prayer for Simon (and Simon alone) that his faith may not fail. I bring this up because in the Catholic Church we have the dogma of the infallibility of the pope, and many Catholics actually will point (and not incorrectly), they’ll point to the gospel of Matthew 16, where Jesus says, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” They’ll point to that passage as the foundation of papal primacy and papal infallibility, but what’s interesting is if you actually look at the definition of papal infallibility from Vatican 1 (and various Church Fathers), what you’ll see is the language of infallibility in Vatican 1 actually comes from Luke 22, Jesus’ prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail; the language of “not failing” is something that the Church is drawing on in the language of papal infallibility, with reference to Peter’s role as the supreme authority and doctrinal authority in the Church on earth, but also to his role of strengthening the other Apostles. I just bring this up because this is a really beautiful insight into the fact that Jesus, in the very midst of his passion, everything he’s about to face, everything he’s about to undergo, he’s still looking forward, beyond the cross, to the role that Peter is going to play as the chief of the Apostles and as the one who’s faith will not fail, because of the graces obtained for him by Christ in the upper room at the Last Supper....

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

Now, importantly, Paul doesn’t stop the hymn there though. It’s not where the story ends. It doesn’t end with the death of Christ; it ends with His resurrection and His exultation, His ascension into Heaven. So he says:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Alright, so three elements here that are important. Paul is describing the fourth step in the hymn, the resurrection and the ascension. So he’s dealt with the preexistence, then the birth, then the Passion and death, and now he concludes with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And the three elements He highlights here are first His exultation. So although other passages will speak of the ascension of Jesus, Paul describes it as His exultation. In other words, God the Father is exalting Jesus to Heaven, to the throne in Heaven, to the heavenly kingdom. It’s kind of like a triumphal entry into the heavenly throne where the one who was regarded as a slave is now actually revealed to be king. Second, he:

...bestowed on him the name which is above every name… (Philippians 2:9b)

Now what is that name? Well, on the one hand, the name is Jesus, right? Because Paul says:

...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… (Philippians 2:10a)

...and every tongue confess… (Philippians 2:11a)

And Jesus’ name literally means in Hebrew “the Lord saves.” So the name of Jesus is very powerful. It tells you both who He is and what He’s come to do. It reveals His identity and it reveals His mission.

But in context here, when Paul says:

...the name which is above every name… (Philippians 2:9b)

...he’s not just talking about the name of Jesus. Because it says that:

...every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… (Philippians 2:11a)

And the Greek word there is kyrios. It literally means “Lord,” and it could be applied to a king or to a lord. But in Jewish Scripture, if you look at the Jewish Scriptures, you’ll see that the word kyrios is the Greek translation for the Hebrew tetragrammaton—the four sacred letters, YHWH, that are the sacred and unpronounceable name of the Hebrew God, the name of the God of Israel.

And so what Paul seems to be describing here is that when Christ ascends to the throne, the entire cosmos—everyone in Heaven, everyone on the Earth and everyone under the Earth—will confess that Jesus Christ is the kyrios, that He is the Lord, that He is the one God of Israel who has come in person. And although human beings regarded him merely as a slave, merely as a man, and they put Him to death on the cross, the reality is that through that cross and through that death, He has now been raised from the dead and exulted to be revealed as equal to God the Father, and as sharing not just the glory, but the name of the one who also has the form of God. So He’s being revealed not just as Christ, the Anointed One, not just as Jesus the Savior, but as kyrios, as the Lord of Heaven and the Lord of Earth.

And if you have any doubts about that, all you have to do is go back and look at the Old Testament passage to which Paul is alluding. So in the Philippian hymn, Paul describes every knee bowing and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, but when he makes that image, he’s actually alluding to the passage from Isaiah...which may be one of the strongest affirmations of monotheism in the Old Testament, where Isaiah is insisting there is only one God. Listen to this in Isaiah 45:22 and following. It says, the Lord speaking:

“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.’

So notice...Paul takes a passage, which in Jewish Scripture is referring to the one God of Israel, to the Lord, in which the Lord says, “I am God. There is no other. To me, every knee will bow and every tongue confess.” And Paul takes that text, and he applies it to Jesus. And he says that when Jesus is exalted, then every knee shall bow…

...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11)

So what Paul’s beginning to reveal there is the mystery of what would later come to be known as the doctrine of the Trinity—that although there is one God, we have (in this hymn he mentions) two divine persons, the person of the Son who is in the form of God and equal to God, and the person of God the Father...and that when the Son is exalted to Heaven with his human nature, his human body in the ascension, every tongue will confess that He is in fact the Lord, the one God of Israel, “to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). So there’s a mystery of not just the cross, not just the resurrection, but also the mystery of the Trinity.

For full access subscribe here >

 



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