Reflections for

Palm Sunday, Mar 25, 2018

Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16


Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47)


Cancer and good news

Todd Billings weaves his struggle with a rare form of blood cancer together with probing biblical and theological reflection.


Change of Heart, by Jeanne Bishop

Spring books

When Jeanne Bishop learned of her sister's murder, she found herself saying aloud, "I don't want to hate anybody."


If God is mostly paradox

So that things contrary to common sense
Seem suddenly truth revealed
And some unappealing sight
Is clearly Imago Dei, devilishly alight
As though lit within at core
By the very darkness we abhor
And symbols of my soul’s best hope are cast
As models of betrayal, despair and death;
Then, Eve’s fruit tasted and offered to Adam
Becomes Mary’s Gift as First Fruit
Of a new covenant of pardon
And the abandoned Garden
Because of Him
Becomes the New Jerusalem;

So, let that mind be also in me,
The one that takes in my off-stage acts,
You know,
Those walk-the-walk naked facts,
Even my sneaky judas-pacts
And transforms them all
Into something nothing short of new,
Like being born,
Like out of any godforsaken Friday
Easter morn.


Disposal of the body

So Jesus’ wealthy friends did prove useful in the end.
All four narratives seem to agree on this.
Joseph, after all—the one from Arimathea, not his Dad—
Joseph pulled strings with Pilate. Did he have to call in
a few favors earned in questionable ways
so he could claim possession of the corpse?
Old Nicodemus too, Jesus’ night-shift friend from the Sanhedrin,
Nicodemus makes his own fleeting reprise,
carting along a ton—almost—of fragrant spices,
nard and myrrh (again!), for preservation purposes.
Although where he got such pricey stuff,
late on a holiday Friday afternoon, is never quite explained.
And that convenient, fresh-hewn, garden tomb;
even back in the day, sepulchres such as those
did not come ten-a-penny! Add in all the hired help
they must have needed to get stuff from here to there
and, of course, to roll and seal that massive rock . . .
Whole thing makes you wonder—doesn’t it?—
wonder if that narrow needle’s eye got prized wide open—
camel-size, at least—to accommodate these late allies.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.