Sunday, March 29, 2015: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Gospel according to Mark (11:1-11)


When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.


> [Holy Week special liturgies were restored by the mainstream churches in the 20th century.]

> Comparison of the Gospels

>>> Starts on Mount of Olives (This is the place in the Old Testament where God will come to earth.)

>>> All of the stories end up being meshed together.

>>> Only Matthew has him entering Jerusalem when the crowds are there to welcome him.

>>> In Luke, only the disciples are there with him (no crowds).

>>> Only John makes mention of palm branches.

>>> Psalm 118 makes references to “Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord.”



A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (50:4-9a)


The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.  The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?


> This is known as the servant Psalm.

> It describes the teacher who was taught through suffering.



Psalm 31: 9-16


O Lord hear my pray’r, O Lord hear my pray’r

When I call, answer me.

O Lord hear my pray’r, O Lord hear my pray’r

Come and listen to me.


9   Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; *

     my eye is consumed with sorrow,

    and also my throat and my belly.

10  For my life is wasted with grief,

     and my years with sighing; *

     my strength fails me because of affliction,

and my bones are consumed.


11  I have become a reproach to all my enemies

       and even to my neighbors,

      a dismay to those of my acquaintance; *

     when they see me in the street they avoid me.

12  I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; *

     I am as useless as a broken pot.


13  For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;

     fear is all around; *

     they put their heads together against me;

     they plot to take my life.


 14  But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord. *

      I have said, “You are my God.

15  My times are in your hand; *

      rescue me from the hand of my enemies,

     and from those who persecute me.

16  Make your face to shine upon your servant, *

      and in your loving-kindness save me.”



> This is a psalm of lament and also a psalm about trusting in God.

> “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” only appears in Luke.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians (2:5-11)


Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


> These verses are in poetic form.

> Jesus emptied himself and then God exalted him.



The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Mark (14:32-15:47)


> Ends up with the death of Jesus.

> The women are only at a distance from him at the end.

> They also are the same witnesses at Jesus’ tomb.

> Only John is at the foot of the cross.