Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
March 25, 2018 – Palm Sunday (Cycle B, Year II)
Community Word: Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Theme: As the temple of the Holy Spirit we allow the Lord to sanctify us through suffering.
Promise: “The Lord God is my help therefore I am not disgraced … I shall not be put to shame.” (Is 50:7)
We begin the celebration of Holy Week on Palm Sunday. While we usually remember the joyous entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem with the blessing of the palms, this Sunday’s celebration is about the start of the suffering of Jesus Christ towards His eventual death on the cross. This is Passion Sunday ushering the Holy Week in to commemorate the Paschal Mystery – the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. We render the coming week truly holy by expressing gratitude to God with our sincere conversion, resolving to turn away from sin and to remain pleasing in His sight by acts of kindness and love for one another. Radical conversion means a total rejection of sin with the knowledge that sin always offends God.
The solemn entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem was the decisive step Jesus took so that his suffering and death would be accomplished as his time had already come. It was the hour when he had to offer himself as sacrifice on the cross. He died for each and every one of us by this supreme offering of life, for it is the will of our heavenly Father to ransom people from sin and death. This is God’s love for us.
We re-echo this reflection of a Christian columnist:
“Jesus made the problems of the world his own. He teaches us to trust not in our will but in the will of the one who knows how to love and to save. He was willing to undergo what hatred and persecution meant, and embraced the most difficult part of our human experiences. He embraced all these to make us realize that he will journey with us and not abandon us, he will help us not removing all the pains of life but by assuming all these pains in himself. He did this to manifest to us that in our pains, we are not alone, we are not abandoned. Holy Week is important to us who follow Jesus because we believe that by his love, he changed the world and the history of our lives. In our world today, we need love most of all but only true love. Jesus can make a difference and can bring change to us.”
The simplicity of Mark’s account focuses on the humility of Jesus. He came to suffer and die as revealed in earlier prophecies of his betrayal and death. The gospel illustrates a cruel human abandonment of Jesus – Judas betrays him, all the other disciples flee at his arrest and Peter denying knowledge of him. Jesus dies feeling abandoned even by God, crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. The Father’s reply to His Son’s cry soon comes as Jesus carry out His sacrifice. The curtain in the temple is torn in two – from top to bottom, as a sign of the passing away of the old temple and the coming of the new one. This is what we contemplate on our community word for this month – Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of Holy Spirit.
The gospel tells us that though Jesus is being manifested as the Son of God through the authority and power of his teachings and miracles, we will not be able to understand his true identity until we see him die on the cross, obedient to the end. Through his ultimate suffering, Jesus can address all our longings and hardships. There are moments in our lives as Christians when we need desperately to cry out – My God, why are you forsaking me. As we go through difficult times, we have this Holy Week’s theme to ponder upon: As the temple of the Holy Spirit we allow the Lord to sanctify us through suffering. As we meditate on the cross, let us reflect on what it means to strengthen and deepen our declaration of faith that Jesus, in his obedient suffering and death, revealed himself to us as the Son of God. This is the most opportune time to renew our commitment to follow him in our struggle to die to ourselves so that he will again be the Lord of our lives.
Let us humbly examine the many ways we have betrayed and failed Jesus because of our sins, make a sincere confession and finally ask for the grace to always remain as his faithful servants. Let us go through our sufferings and join them to the One who truly gives sense to all of our pains. And as we are there, let us be assured with this Holy Week promise: “The Lord God is my help therefore I am not disgraced … I shall not be put to shame,” (Is 50:7).
We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world! May our meditation on your passion, suffering, and death transform our whole lives and being into a living sacrifice of praise to our all-loving Savior and Redeemer!
1. Jesus walks with us and shares our loneliness, sorrows and sufferings. How do you respond to such amazing love and genuine solidarity?
2. Passion Sunday invites us to “empty” ourselves of our own interests, fears and needs for the sake of others. How would you reach out to heal those who are hurting and comfort the despairing around despite your own denials and betrayals?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
March 25, 2018 (Sun) – Is 50:4-7/Ps 22:8, 9, 17-24/Phil 2:6-11/Mk 14:1-15:47
March 26, 2018 (Mon) – Is 42:1-7/Ps 27:1-3, 13, 14/Jn 12:1-11
March 27, 2018 (Tue) – Is 49:1-6/Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17/Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
March 28, 2018 (Wed) – Is 50:4-9/Ps 69:8-*10, 21-22, 31, 33, 34/Mt 26:14-25
March 29, 2018 (Thu) – Is 61:1-3, 8, 9/Ps 89:21, 2, 25, 27/Rv 1:5-8/Lk 4:16-21
March 30, 2018 (Fri) – Ex 12:1-8, 11-14/Ps 116:12, 13, 15, 16-18/12/1Cor 11:23-26/Jn 13:1-15
March 31, 2018 (Sat) – Is 52:13-53:12/Ps 31:2,6.12,13-16,17,25/Hb 4:14-16;5:7-9/Jn 18:1-19:42
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”