Introit (Psalm 42:1-2) Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for You are God my strength. Send forth Your light, and Your truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Your holy hill, and into Your tabernacles. — Judge me, O God …
Collect We beseech You, O almighty God, look mercifully upon Your family: that by Your bounty it may be governed in body, and by Your keeping be guarded in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son.
Epistle (Hebrews 9:11-15) Brethren: Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen and the ashes of an heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who, by the Holy Ghost, offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
And therefore He is the Mediator of the new Testament: that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gradual: Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies: teach me to do Your will. (Ps. 17. 48, 49.) You are my deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations: You will lift me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man You will deliver me.
Tract: Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: often have they fought against me from my youth. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord who is just will cut the necks of sinners.
The Gospel (John 8:46-59) At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: “Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God, hears the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.”
The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: “Do not we say well, that You are a Samaritan, and have a devil?”
Jesus answered: “I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured Me. But I seek not my own glory: there is One that seeks and judges. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.”
The Jews therefore said: “Now we know that You have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets: and you say: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the Prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself?”
Jesus answered: “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing: it is My Father that glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God, and you have not known Him: but I know Him: and if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it and was glad.”
The Jews therefore said to Him: “You are not yet fifty years old: and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.” They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
Offertory I will confess to You, O Lord, with my whole heart: render to Your servant: I shall live and keep Your words: enliven me according to Your word, O Lord.
The Secret May these gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, loose us from the bonds of our wickedness, and win for us the gifts of Your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Communion This is My Body which shall be delivered for you: this chalice is the new Testament in my Blood, says the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.
Post-Communion Stand by us, O Lord our God, and with tireless support defend us whom You have renewed through these Mysteries. Through …
Passiontide is the holy period of two weeks from Pasion Sunday through to Easter Sunday, the first day of the Season of the Resurrection (Easter). The second Sunday in Passiontide is Palm Sunday. It is traditional to drape the Cross and the church statues in purple cloth so that they are entirely covered over from Passion Sunday until the end of the Good Friday and the beginning of the Easter Vigil celebrations, respectively.
There was much experimentation with Passion Sunday in the ten years learning up to Vatican II, which has had the unfortunate effect of introducing confusion. Not least, there is a tendency to confuse Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday, but they are two different days. And what is more, they serve the Season in different ways. Easter is of course the great feast of the Resurrection, the victory of eternal life over death and sin. The lead up to it tells of how Our Lord, in historical time, was beset by enemies, and overcame them by submitting His body to their designs, but holding His soul in purity above and apart from anything they could do to Him. Thus, Our Lord exemplified His own teaching not to fear those who can damage the body, but those who can destroy both body and soul, that is, the devil. Passion Sunday reminds us in the strongest possible terms of the horrors of the evils Our Lord faced, and what He would suffer, how His very own chosen people took up rocks to kill Him. Palm Sunday is a brief respite in this narrative of opposition to the light, for it reminds us of how the children of Jerusalem welcomed Him into the Holy City.
The lesson for our times is all too obvious. It should remind us to take this practical step: adopt a realistic attitude to life. The world is not our friend, although by rights it should be. Our true friend is God and His Kingdom. In so far as His Kingdom is realised on earth, this is good. But our true home is in heaven, and if we bind our hearts and souls to this world, we will lose them.