Palm Sunday for Grown-Ups

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

A difficulty with the Palm Sunday Scripture readings is that we move very quickly from the exultant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem through to his death, almost without pause.

So in this prayer space we are going to spend time with that first Gospel passage for Sunday, Matthew’s description of the entry into Jerusalem.

We will reflect on the Jubilation, the expectation, the hope …… and we will finish with the intention to live the coming week as the events unfold and to examine where I am in each of these …..

The birth and death of Jesus of Nazareth was not a construct of a frustrated God, a God looking at humanity as something that was failing … the birth and death of Jesus of Nazareth takes place in the continuing story of Creation …. at a point when creation was ready to unfold the fullness of the human person. Our invitation is to reflect on our part in that unfolding. 

Fr. John has created a short video about this Gospel in which he places it in context and reads the Gospel.

Read the GospelMatthew 21:1-11
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

When they were near Jerusalem and had come in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back directly”.’ This took place to fulfil the prophecy: Say to the daughter of Zion:

Look, your king comes to you;
he is humble, he rides on a donkey
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting:

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!’

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. ‘Who is this?’ people asked, and the crowds answered, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Reflect on the Gospel

Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Over the coming weeks, we will offer some different approachs. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer.

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

As a way of reflecting I offer you a way to enter personally into the scene, to be part of it…

This is an audio version of the following reflection

In your mind, picture the location …. in sight of Betphage, close to the Mount of Olives ……  look around ….. sense the brightness ……  feel the heat of the place ……

Where are you in the scene …….   Observing it? ….. Part of it? ….. One of those close to Jesus or one at a distance?

See the two arriving back with the colt ……  their excitement because they found the colt just as Jesus had told them ……

See the people putting their cloaks onto the back of the colt ……

See them helping Jesus to sit up on it ……

Where are you now,  close by and part of it or at  a distance observing?

The group are moving on ……  People are putting their cloaks and palm branches on the ground ….. hear the singing …..
‘Blessings on the King who comes,
in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest heavens!’

And now as the group move on, delay a moment …..
Notice the remnants on the ground from the cloaks and branches thrown down….
In your mind, pick up a piece of the palm to take away with you…..
and when you are ready, return to this space and move on to the responses to the time of reflection.

We are inviting everyone to place a branch, a piece of palm, at their front door and in their homes this weekend…… and to use it, each time you notice it this coming week, as a way of calling yourself to be attentive to the events unfolding over the week….

Finish this part with a Prayer

Saving God, as we recall in word and gesture the great events of salvation, let us know your healing love once more. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

We open our prayer by addressing God directly: The people were exuberant at your entry into Jerusalem, full of anticipation of the hope in you.  We turn to You in prayer for our world and ourselves, in hope coming from our experience of You in our lives:

God of healing, we pray especially for all who sustain us in these days: for hospital chaplains, for medical professionals, for staff in our shops, for those who keep our streets and places of work clean, for our political leaders. We are in this together and together we entrust all these people to your special blessing. Lord hear us.

God of hope, in these days fear has gripped us all and we are afraid of what might happen to us and to those we love. Pour into our hearts your Holy Spirit, our advocate, to  give us the strength and calm we need to live through this terrible time. Lord hear us.

God of lovewe know that nothing matters more than the people in our lives. We ask your blessing on those we love. Give us your compassion, your patient love, that we may reach out to all who need our help, especially the vulnerable. Lord hear us.

God of faithwe renew our faith in you, our loving Father. Let us feel again in our lives the promise of your Son to be with us always to the end of the age. Show us how to live through this epidemic as people of faith. May this time of testing be a time of grace. Lord hear us. 

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel – Click Here

For more detail on the parish initiative to place palm on our doors click here

Fr. Denis McCabe offers a 10 minute reflection on the Gospel