Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 24, 2013 at 17:24

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Palm Sunday

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Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, “Go into the village opposite you,
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
And if anyone should ask you,
‘Why are you untying it?’
you will answer,
‘The Master has need of it.’”
So those who had been sent went off
and found everything just as he had told them.
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them,
“Why are you untying this colt?”
They answered,
“The Master has need of it.”
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt,
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!”

– Luke 19:28-40

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 24, 2013 at 17:16

Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

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Via The Huffington Post:

Jerusalem – Hundreds of Christian pilgrims marked Palm Sunday in the Holy Land on Sunday, holding masses and processions retracing Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, where he was greeted by cheering crowds bearing palm fronds, according to the Bible.

The day’s events began with a mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – revered as the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Several hundred worshippers and clergy lit candles and waved palm fronds in the dark, cavernous church.

“It’s the holiest place in the world for Christians and it’s important for me to come here at least once in my lifetime,” said Etienne Chevremont, 49, a visitor from Paris who attended the Jerusalem Mass.

Visitors walked down the cobblestone alleyways of the walled Old City carrying olive branches, palm fronds and crosses.

A service was also held in Bethlehem’s Nativity Church, built atop Jesus’ traditional birthplace.

Later Sunday, the faithful were expected to march from the neighboring Mount of Olives into the Old City behind a white donkey, following Jesus’ traditional route from 2,000 years ago.

The day marks the start of Holy Week, which ends next Sunday with Easter. Orthodox Christians mark Palm Sunday next week.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry said it expects 125,000 visitors during Holy Week and 300,000 throughout April, when Jews celebrate Passover – a 5 percent increase from last year.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 1, 2012 at 17:07


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Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 1, 2012 at 07:11

The Final Week of Jesus’ Life, a Chronology

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Helpful, from The New Theological Movement:

As the Church prepares to enter into Holy Week, we do well to consider the final week of Jesus’ life, from Friday to Friday. In a later post, we will look at the last twenty-four hours (from the Last Supper to the death of Jesus on the Cross) in greater detail.

It will be helpful to review the Gospel accounts given by Sts. Mark and John, the two who offer the most explicit chronology of Holy Week. See Mark 11:1 – 15:37 and also John 11:54 – 19:30.

The Friday before the Passion

Jesus was in the city of Ephraim, in hiding since the Jewish authorities desired to kill him. On this day (before evening), Jesus and his disciples went up to Jerusalem, before the pasch to purify themselves (John 11:55).

They spent the night in Bethany, which is very close to Jerusalem.

Saturday before the Passion

Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (John 12:1-3)

The pasch (i.e. Passover) was on a Thursday that year (beginning Thursday eve with the Passover Meal), and so six days before, that is, on Friday, Jesus came to Bethany.

The next day, which is to say, Saturday, Jesus came to the feast there and was anointed by Mary of Bethany (that is, Mary Magdalene [here]). In this first anointing, Mary pours the oil over the Savior’s feet.

This meal and anointing occurred, most probably, at the house of Lazarus known as the Lazarium.

Our Savior spent the night in Bethany.

Palm Sunday

And on the next day, Sunday (John 12:12), Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem upon an ass and upon a colt, the foul of an ass. This was the first Palm Sunday, when the children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, “Hosanna in the highest!”

Our Lord returned to Bethany for the night.

Monday of Holy Week

On the way into Jerusalem, Jesus sees a fig tree which has born no fruit – which tree he curses in the presence of his disciples.

Upon entering the city, our Lord goes up and cleanses the Temple for the second time (he had cleansed it once already, two years ago – cf. John 2:13ff [see our article, here]).

That eve, Jesus returned to Bethany (cf. Mark 11:19).

Tuesday of Holy Week

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus’ disciples notice that the fig tree which he had cursed the morning before has now withered. They are amazed.

Entering the Temple area, Jesus preaches extensively and answers the questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

It is on this day that our Lord tells the parable of the vineyard workers who kill the owner’s son who is the heir to the vineyard. Also, on this occasion, the Lord answers the questions regarding the tribute to Caesar, the resurrection of the body, the greatest commandment, and whether the Christ will be the son of David.

Further, while in the Temple, our Lord sees a widow offer two small coins and declares her gift to be greater than those of the others.

Finally, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple and speaks of the final judgment.

He returns that night to Bethany.

Spy Wednesday

Spending the day in retirement, our Lord attends a feast at the house of a certain Pharisee, Simon the Leper. During this meal, Mary of Bethany (i.e. Magdalene [here]) again anoints our Lord, but this time upon his head (cf. Matthew 26:7; Mark 14:3).

As before, Judas complains; but now he is set against our Savior, and so goes to the priests to betray Jesus. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them. (Mark 14:10)

Because it was this evening that Judas conspired against Jesus, the day is called “Spy Wednesday”.

Holy Thursday

Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch? (Mark 14:12)

Because the Passover meal would be consumed Thursday evening, Jesus sent his disciples to make the preparations for the pasch. They went from Bethany to Jerusalem and prepared the upper room.

On this evening, Jesus offered the Last Supper in which he instituted both the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Upon finishing the meal, our Lord and his apostles (excepting Judas, who left early) sang a hymn and then went forth to the Mount of Olives.

On this night, our Lord suffered the agony in the garden and was arrested. Jesus spends the night locked in the dungeon of the house of Caiaphas, after undergoing a secret night-trial by the Sanhedrin.

Good Friday

It was on Friday that our Lord suffered and died. Condemned to death at 10am, nailed to the Cross at noon, and dying at 3pm.

Christ was buried before 5pm and, the stone being rolled across the entrance, all departed.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 30, 2012 at 22:31

Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

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The holiest period on the Christian calendar has begun with holiday celebrations in Jerusalem. 

Bells summoned the Christian faithful to Palm Sunday prayers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City, the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  Palm Sunday is the beginning of Easter Holy Week and marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

According to the New Testament, people threw palm branches on the road to welcome Him when he rode into the city on a donkey.

Inside the church, priests and pilgrims held a festive procession around the ancient stone sepulcher of Jesus. They waved palm and olive branches, engulfed in a fragrant cloud of incense.

The pilgrims came from all over the world…

There has been a big turnout of pilgrims for many years, thanks to a lull in Israeli-Palestinian violence. Jerusalem’s walled Old City will be packed with Jewish and Christian pilgrims this week because Easter coincides this year with the week-long biblical Feast of Passover…

The above was here.

CNN has a video of events there here.

Wishing I was there too…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 17, 2011 at 18:20

Persecuted for his Cross: Electrician Told he Faces the Sack

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For having a Christian symbol on his van’s dashboard:


An electrician faces the sack for displaying a small palm cross on the dashboard of his company van.

Former soldier Colin Atkinson has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the giant housing association where he has been employed for 15 years because he refuses to remove the symbol.

Mr Atkinson, a regular worshipper at church, said: ‘The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical…but I will stand up for my faith.’

Throughout his time at work, he has had an 8in-long cross made from woven palm leaves attached to the dashboard shelf below his windscreen without receiving a single complaint.

But his bosses at publicly funded Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) in West Yorkshire – the fifth-biggest housing organisation in England – have demanded he remove the cross on the grounds it may offend people or suggest the organisation is Christian. Mr Atkinson’s union representative said he faces a full disciplinary hearing next month for gross misconduct, which could result in dismissal.

The association strongly promotes ‘inclusive’ policies and allows employees to wear religious symbols at work.
It has provided stalls at gay pride events, held ‘diversity days’ for travellers, and hosted a gender reassignment event entitled A World That Includes Transpeople.

Mr Atkinson, who has an unblemished work record, said he had not been shown similar respect.

‘The past few months have been unbelievable, a nightmare,’ he said. ‘I have worked in the coal mines and served in the Army in Northern Ireland and I have never suffered such stress. The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical. It is political correctness taken to the extreme.’

But he added: ‘I have never been so full of resolve. I am determined to stand up for my rights. If they sack me, so be it. But I am standing up for my faith.’

The above and the rest of this sad story is here. These equality laws will still be the undoing of politically correct ‘multicultural’ England, where, by the way, the ‘wearing a burka at work would be considered discreet’.

Glad I don’t stay there… Or I’d really be in trouble:

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

April 17, 2011 at 16:36


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