Reflections for

Palm Sunday, Mar 20, 2016

Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40

 

Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

On Art

St. Ann Christ (with detail), by Chris Scala

While many artists seek to convey a sense of the layers of suffering and anguish in the Passion of Christ, few consider what the medium itself conveys. This life-sized sculpture appears weightless, and it radiates light and lightness. “In the context of my artworks,” Scala writes, “the use of partially transparent wire fabrics allows the examination of the underlying structure of the subject. By shaping Christ’s image into a hollow form and introducing gold to the surface, the sculpture takes on a transparent and yet reflective character.” 

Poetry

Jesus is nailed to the cross

One year Marie gave up TV for Lent.
If Jesus Christ could bear His cross, then kite
on it three hours so we’d repent,
sacrifice in return was merely right.
I swore off sweets, only to break my fast
with thieved chocolate, watching Lord of the Flies,
a film exposing my black soul. Aghast,
I rushed to my sister’s room for advice.
She was asleep, my parents too. Spilling
from the TV, English schoolboy savages
marched the house, whetted for blood and killing.
I screamed for Jesus. But His ravages
snared Him, like a film, in cruel depiction—
as if it were my own crucifixion.

Poetry

Blood

               When we think of the blood of Christ,
                we think of the unnumbered insults;
                       the five wounds; the blood
                  beading from the thorn incisors
                          encircling his head

                        But what if, instead,
               we thought of the blue and red
              twining vessels of the umbilicus,
     what if we pictured the roseate and warm
          web of nutrients we call placenta?

                        Why not envision the body of Mary
               her autonomic brain as it was building,
                  creating a network of feeding and growing:
     caring and corpuscle, healing and hemoglobin,
 making a mammal’s four-chambered heart,
             fed by the rich cake we call placenta,
      shaping salvation’s vascular system?

                    Christ’s heart took shape in Mary’s body.
His blood first coursed her valves and veins.
      It was made with her womb’s weaving,
              overcast by heaven’s venture,
            manifest through serving love,
                      cell by alizarin cell.

Poetry

Man is without excuse

   —Romans 1:20

Perhaps you could say that in Rome, Paul,
where the olive trees of the Seven Hills

strung their pearls of rain against the sky.
And yes, as I hike Glacier Park

with a well-stocked pack, I can welcome
God's ambassadors of fireweed and paintbrush,

the psalmic rhythm of lake hitting shore.
But as the refugee trudges

from Mogadishu to Dabaab, is she to catch
a glimpse of antelope bone in the thicket

and intuit the sufferings of the Son of Man?
She wears her own nails and crown.

An Eden of lizards surges at her heels,
but she wonders at nothing

but the sore-studded daughter she left to die
on the road, and now, the baby

strapped to her back: six pounds
at one year old. He no longer cries

but flutters small breaths on her neck
like the golden wings of moths

she counts with worshipful attention.

 

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