Discussion Questions

Procession
Matthew 21:1-11

1.  “And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, ‘Who is this?’” Who is Jesus of Nazareth to you in 2017?

2. How would Jesus’ arrival with all the crowds crying “Hosanna” have affected the Pharisees and chief priests? Would it have worried them that they were going to lose power and control to this man riding on the donkey? Do you think Jesus knew what the outcome of this ride would be?

First Reading
Isaiah 50:4-7

1. “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint.” We see Jesus as the subject of this reading. Who, other than Jesus, might be the speaker in this reading? Explain. If you proclaim Jesus can you be assured that he will go before you and guide you?

2. “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear.” What do you think the speaker of this reading hears? Is it about suffering? Are you reluctant to stand up for justice if it involves discomfort to you? Is there any small thing you could do to remedy someone’s suffering? Explain.

Second Reading
Philippians 2:6-11

1. “Agape” love (pronounced ah-gah-pay) is selfless and free from self-concern and self-preoccupation. It includes conversion, vulnerability, suffering, and seeking for justice. Explain Jesus’ love for us in terms of agape. How does it help redeem the world?

2. Discuss this thought from Javier Melloni, SJ: “The will of God is the divinization of every creature; and it was to bring about this divinization that the One who was in God and who was God, emptied himself in order to participate in our human condition and transform it from within.”

Gospel
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66 or 27:11-54

1. Jesus endured abandonment by the one he loved most, his Abba. He chose to experience all of humanity’s worst suffering. What does this tell us? Even though he couldn’t access their love, do you think the Father and the Spirit were there with Jesus on the cross?

2. At the World Youth Day in 2013 Pope Francis addressed how the Cross of Christ contains all the love and mercy of God. Given that this is immeasurable love, how do you respond to it?

The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life” (cf. Jn 3:16). …

You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us. The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe.

The Way of the Cross with Young People
Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Friday, July 26, 2013

Anne Osdieck

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson