Saturday, March 31, 2007

Palm Sunday?

I was preparing for the Sunday liturgy by reading the Gospel we will hear before Mass. (You know, for the procession with palm branches.) But it's year "C" for the Gospel readings, and that means Luke's Gospel. And Luke doesn't say anything about palm branches--or any branches, for that matter. And not even a "Hosanna"! (Luke wrote for Gentiles who wouldn't know what "Hosanna" meant any more than most of us do.)
Luke depicts the crowds covering the road with their own cloaks, while shouting loud praise of God and of "the King who comes" and calling out "peace in heaven and glory in the highest" (sounding very much like the angels at the nativity). So maybe in year C we should have "cloak" Sunday?
There was another point in that processional Gospel that struck me. You know, how some Pharisees told Jesus he ought to rebuke his disciples for their blasphemous chanting. Jesus said that if they kept silent and didn't "praise God with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen," the "stones would cry out" in a thundering avalanche of judgment that would rebuke everyone. That kind of got me thinking about how easy it is to skip over the real obligation we have to (first of all) notice the "mighty deeds" of the Lord, and then to actually "praise God with joy" for them.
Joyful praise should, in fact, be the hallmark of Christian prayer.

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