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Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily Devotion for February 27, 2014

<i>Palm Sunday</i></div> by Zdzislaw Piotr Jasinski, ca. 1891.
Palm Sunday by Zdzislaw Piotr Jasinski, ca. 1891. Jasinki gives us a slice of religious life from Catholic Poland, before Stalin. (Full-size)



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


I absolutely love J.J. Heller. You will do best to watch this clever (yet touching) video in full-screen mode.

For a Cheerful Disposition in All I Do Today

Holy God, who has filled me with the joy of your grace and salvation, assist me this day that I may do all things I am called to do without grumbling or disputing. I call on your Spirit to assist me, that I may be blameless and innocent, a child of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.

Let me follow holy Christ and all his saints: Let me shine as a light, a beacon in a world where darkness seeks to overcome us in every thing and at every moment. And help me to hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ's return I may be proud that I did not strive in vain.

I pray this not for my own glory, but in all humility before you, to whom be all glory and honor,



[Let me shine as a beacon in a world where darkness seeks to overcome us]

Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away

Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.


Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)

May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

<i>Entry into Jerusalem</i> by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, ca. 1842.
Entry into Jerusalem by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, ca. 1842. (Full-size)

1 Maccabees 13:41, 50-51 (Douay-Rheims 1899)

In the year 170 [142 B.C.] the yoke of the Gentiles was taken off from Israel. . . .

In those days Simon [Maccabeus] besieged Gaza . . . . And they cried to Simon for peace, and he granted it to them: and he cast them out from thence, and cleansed the castle from uncleannesses.

And they entered into it the 23rd day of the second month, in the year 171, with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and harps, and cymbals, and psalteries, and hymns, and canticles, because the great enemy was destroyed out of Israel.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 21:6-11 (ESV)

Hosanna to the Son of David

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.

Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Notes on the Scripture

Jesus fulfilled many specific messianic prophecies, but most often we do not see him doing it intentionally. Here, though, he goes out of his way to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey . . . colt.” (Zechariah 9:9) Moreover, Jesus is making a Big Entrance. Where he has usually sought to avoid crowds, now he embraces them. Riding a donkey colt is theatrical; it is an intentional show, and halfway a parody of the triumphal march of a Roman victor.

Even closer, Christ mimics the triumphal march of Simon Maccabeus, the brother of the great Judah Maccabeus, into Gaza. The specific of the palm branches laid in his path were not lost on the early Jewish Christians, and should not be lost on us. Around 175 B.C. Jerusalem had fallen to the Syrian (SeleucidThe Seleucids were one of the divisions of the empire of Alexander the Great, after his death.) king, Antiochus Epiphanes, and he had been determined to stamp out Judaism. He set a statue of Zeus on the Temple's altar and turned its rooms into a brothel.

The Maccabees reconquered Jerusalem and much of Canaan. The Sadducees were actually the inheritors of the Maccabean revolution; they believed that the “Messiah” predicted by the prophets was an ongoing process, begun by the Maccabees, that would cast out foreigners and re-establish the most ancient interpretation of Mosaic Law. So it was they who most fervently anticipated a messianic entry into Jerusalem, by a Jew riding a charger at the head of a victorious army, coming to cleanse the Temple.

Thus, Jesus riding a donkey colt is loaded with implications. Here is your conquering King, Israel: a scruffy and impoverished holy man, who preaches peace and sacrifice, not in shining armor, but the tunic of a working man — and riding a small donkey. Yes, he is coming to cleanse the Temple, but it is you, the religious leaders of Judaism, from which it will be cleansed!

The cries of “Hosanna” and “Hosanna in the highest” are often misunderstood. The word means hosanna means “save now”. It is more a plea than a joyful shout of celebration. It is somewhat similar to the British “God save the King”, with “the King” standing as the symbol of the nation. “Hosanna to the Son of David” thus asks Christ to save Israel, but implicit in it is a recognition (or hope) of His ability to do so and his right to lead. “Hosanna in the highest” asks the angels in heaven pray to God for the salvation of Israel.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

1 John 2:4-5 (ESV): Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.

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