ON READINGS FOR PALM SUNDAY,
April 2, 2023
Opening question for sharing
Think about one of your best friends. How did you meet? What makes them special to you? How did they turn from being a stranger into a friend?
When Jesus and his disciples had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethpage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, `The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
THE POET THINKS ABOUT THE DONKEY
On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.
How horses, turned out in the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!
But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.
Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.
I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.
Go back in time and become a participant in this story. Use all five senses in imagination to picture the scene, hear the words, look at facial expressions, hear the surrounding sounds, smell the dust or mud smell. Read one paragraph at a time, closing your eyes as you imagine each part of the story.
At the end, take time to speak by yourself with Jesus. Ask anything about the story or about your own life, desires, and concerns right now. Take time to listen for answers in the form of feelings, memories, a song lyric, a word or phrase, a look on Jesus’ face, an emotion, an idea.
MY SWEET, CRUSHED ANGEL
not danced so badly, my dear,
trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style, my sweet, crushed angel,
to have ever neared God’s heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow, and even His
best musicians are not always easy to hear.
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
So what if the price of admission to the Divine is out of reach tonight.
So what, my sweetheart, if you lack the ante to gamble for real love.
The mind and the body are famous for holding the heart ransom,
but Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits. Have patience,
for He will not be able to resist your longings
and charms for long.
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
trying to kiss the Magnificent
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
my sweet, O my sweet,