Liturgy of the Word, Palm Sunday, Year A, April 5, 2020

Standard

Liturgy of the Word, Palm Sunday, Year A, April 5, 2020

They have to be woken up by Jesus twice, as he said “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Brothers and sisters, we all face the critical moment now. The world pandemic is affecting every country, big or small, strong or weak and everyone, the rich or the poor, the nobles or the general public, the high authority or the inmates. Let us ask:

1. How much we keep to our faith?
2. How much we have done as children of God in helping each other?
3. Have nations been unselfishly co-operated with each other in fighting this battle?

Due to the length of the readings of this Sunday, I will not type out the full text but give only the outlines. There are two Gospel readings; the first one is proclaimed before the procession with Palms. The other one is proclaimed at the Eucharistic celebration. Traditionally, the second one
is the Passion reading.

Readings:

Procession with Palms
Gospel: Matthew 21.1-11

Mass Readings

1st Reading: Isaiah 50.4-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22.7-8, 16-17, 18-19, 22-23
R: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

2nd Reading: Philippians 2.6-11
Gospel: Matthew 26.14 – 27.66, The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily (by Deacon Ken Fung)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, we celebrate the Palm Sunday. Although because of the Co-vid 19 virus, we have
less than 1/10 of the regular number of people coming to this Holy Mass, it doesn’t stop us from
celebrating the Palm Sunday. Whether we come to the church, to watch the Holy Mass on
internet or simply to pray and meditate on today’s reading, today is still the Palm Sunday. It
commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, an event which has been recorded by
the 4 Gospels.

As we heard in the Gospel before entering the Church, Jesus rode on a donkey into
Jerusalem. Traditionally, a donkey is considered as an animal of peace, versus a horse, which is
considered as an animal of war. In those days, a king would ride on a horse which is a symbol of
power and authority. Jesus rode on a donkey which is a symbol of peace and humility. When
Pope Francis visited New York on the St. Patrick Day of 2015, instead of riding in a Humber,
Cadillac or Mercedes Benz, he was riding in a humble Fiat 500. However, this Fiat 500 wasn’t
humble at all after Pope Francis has ridden on it because it has been auctioned off for
US$300,000.00, although the proceeds have been used for charity purpose.
The Palm that we traditionally used on this Sunday is a re-enactment of the Jewish people
welcoming Jesus. They waved their hands with the Palm branches. In the old days, palm
branches symbolized goodness, well-being and victory. Today, the palm branches remind us of
the sacrificial death of Christ, praise him for the gift of salvation and expect his second coming.

We will then keep the branches, let them dry and burn them into ashes which we use on Ash
Wednesday in the following year.
As the people were waiving the palms, they, at the same time, shouted to Jesus
“Hosanna”, which literally means “Save us”’ We have heard in the Gospel that the crowd was
shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Today, we proclaim the same word Hosanna in every Mass. We praise him and adore him as our
Messiah.

The main Gospel of the Mass is the traditional reading of the Passion of Christ. Since
this year is Year A, we use the Passion according to Matthew. It is the longest one among the 4
Gospels. It has recorded in detail the last moment of Jesus starting from the last supper with his
disciples until his burial. It is a good chapter of the Gospel for us to reflect on the love of Christ
and how much he has suffered for us.

At the same time, it tells us the weaknesses of human at
the time of critical moments:
1. The greediness of Judas and his lack of faith in Jesus. All other disciples called Jesus
“Lord”, except Judas who called him “Rabbi”.
2. The cowardness of people, as seen from the denial of Peter and the fleeing away of other
disciples.
3. The ugliness and dangerous of the jealousy of the people which will lead them to betray
their own conscience to the extent of condemning an innocent person to death.
4. The authority rules by favoring people instead of adhering to the truth. As it has been
recorded, Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but there would be a riot if he released Jesus. He
therefore left to the people to decide on the fate of Jesus. He was still guilty in front of God even
though he washed his hand and denied his responsibility to the death of Jesus. Nowadays,
politicians do the same. They tried to win the votes of the people by promoting and speaking in
favor of those legislations which are contrary to God’s law, such as legalization of abortion and
euthanasia.
5. Our physical strength is limited and we must rely on God’s power in upholding us.
When Jesus was praying in the Gardens of Gethsemane, the disciples went into sleep because
they were so tired. They have to be woken up by Jesus twice, as he said “the spirit is willing, but
the flesh is weak.”

Brothers and sisters, we all face the critical moment now. The world pandemic is affecting every
country, big or small, strong or weak and everyone, the rich or the poor, the nobles or the general
public, the high authority or the inmates. Let us ask:
1. How much we keep to our faith?
2. How much we have done as children of God in helping each other?
3. Have nations been unselfishly co-operated with each other in fighting this battle?

 

Prayer of the Faithful
For the Church that despite the threat of Co-vid 19 Virus, all faithful may embrace the joy of this
Holy Week with a commitment to the repent sins and strive for holiness, we pray to the Lord.
R: Lord, hear our prayer.
For world leaders that they may reflect the sovereignty of Christ as they work to eliminate
unnecessary suffering in their countries, we pray to the Lord. R
For all Christians that we may be steadfast in our faith in this difficulty time, we pray to the
Lord. R
For those who were killed or suffer in agony due to Co-vid 19 virus, we pray to the Lord. R
For the Elects who are preparing to enter the Church and the Candidates who prepare to receive
full communion with her that they may be protected from evil and will grow in holiness, we
pray to the Lord. R
For those who are sick or hungry that they will find care through God’s people, we pray to the
Lord. R
For those who have gone before us that they may enjoy perfect happiness and total fulfillment in
eternal life, we pray to the Lord. R

 

Conclusion
To conclude this liturgy of the Word, let us pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us:
Our Father…