Revised Common Lectionary Commentary

Passion Sunday - Liturgy of the Passion - April 9, 2017

Introductions for Readers

Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures

Saint Dominic
contemplating the Scriptures

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Our passage is one of four servant songs found in Isaiah. The first begins “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen ...”. In late Judaism, the servant was seen as the perfect Israelite, one of supreme holiness, a messiah. In the gospels, Jesus identifies himself as the servant (or slave), the one who frees all people.

Philippians 2:5-11

Paul has just urged the Christians at Philippi, through “encouragement in Christ”, and moved by God’s love for them, to “be of the same mind[set], having the same love, being in full accord ...” They are to “regard others as better than ... [themselves]”, freely adopting a lowly, unassertive stance before others, replacing self-interest with concern for others.

Matthew 26:14-27:66

It is two days before the combined festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread. In this particular year, Passover begins on a Thursday evening. Many pilgrims have come to Jerusalem for the celebrations. A woman has anointed Jesus for burial – a rite usually performed after death – but there will be no time then.

Matthew 27:11-54

Jesus has shared the Last Supper with his disciples. He has very humanly asked the Father to allow him to simply die, but has decided to be obedient to the Father’s will, to God’s plan. Judas has betrayed him to the religious authorities, and Jesus has been arrested, tried by the Sanhedrin, found guilty of a capital offence and handed over to Pilate, the Roman prefect, for trial under Roman law.

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