UNITED IN PRAYER
A PRAYER RESOURCE FOR FAMILIES, INDIVIDUALS AND HOUSEHOLDS.
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IN ORDER TO CELEBRATE PALM SUNDAY, THIS RESOURCE HAS BEEN PREPARED SO YOU CAN EITHER BEGIN YOUR CELEBRATION INDOORS OR OUTDOORS DEPENDING ON WEATHER AND CIRCUMSTANCE.
Before you begin, if you are able, go into the garden and cut some green branches for each person in your ‘bubble’. If you have children in the house, this might be a nice activity for them to lead.
Gather outside (with anyone you might be praying with) and give each person a branch of greenery to hold.
Continue the time of prayer as below, beginning with the Sign of the Cross.
Gather what you can from around your house to create a prayer focus for the time of prayer.
If you are able, go out into the garden and cut some green branches for each person in your bubble. If you have children in the house, this might be a nice activity for them to lead.
You might like to include a candle, cross, Bible and some red cloth if you have something in your home.
Take a moment to still yourself. Take a deep breath and ask God for a renewed sense of presence with you in this moment.
Holding the branches of greenery that you have collected high in the air you can pray:
Almighty ever-living God,
make holy these branches with your blessing,
that we who follow Christ the King with joy,
may reach the heavenly Jerusalem through him.
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply,
‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Say to daughter Zion, “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Sing or listen
Psalm 21(22):8-9, 17-20, 23-24
R: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Today is a special day, called Palm Sunday. Today there are two gospel readings. The second gospel reading is called the Passion and tells the story of how Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified and buried.
What do you remember from the first gospel reading?
In the first gospel reading we heard how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The donkey was a very humble animal – not very special for such an important person like Jesus. Why do you think he chose a donkey?
If Jesus were to arrive here today, do you think he would ride on a donkey? What would he ride or drive?
All of the people were so happy to see Jesus that they laid their cloaks on the floor and cut branches from palm trees to lay before him to show their respect. This is why today is called Palm Sunday. They shouted to show their joy and praise for God.
Why do you think the crowds were so full of happiness and praise for Jesus? What would you have done if you were in the crowd?
Think again about what it would be like if Jesus arrived here today. What would you do to welcome Jesus if he arrived here today?
God made all of us, no matter where in the world that we come from. Jesus is in all of us. So every time we meet someone and we welcome them, we are welcoming Jesus.
Jesus is in all people, so we should treat all people with the respect, love and kindness that we would show to Jesus. We should try to welcome all people into our lives and treat them as we would like to be treated.
Can you think of a time you welcomed someone else, into your home, your class, your game? What did you do?
At this time when we’re not meeting up with others, we can’t welcome them as we normally would. But let’s think about how we can still show our love for others and spread some joy, even when we can’t meet them in person.
What do you think we could do?
This week let’s try to treat all people as we would treat Jesus. Let’s do our best to show our love for others, share some hope and happiness and welcome each other in whatever way we can.
From CAFOD UK’s Children’s Liturgy Reflection
For Young People
Traditionally each year on Palm Sunday there is a large Mass in St Peter’s Square and the Pope celebrates World Youth Day. Every 2 or 3 years the Pope calls young people together on pilgrimage at another date for an International World Youth Day. In 2022 this event is planned to be held in Lisbon, Portugal.
In his message for World Youth Day 2020 Pope Francis said that World Youth Days are a chance to “journey together”. This journey might be like the one Jesus made into Jerusalem – full of joy or celebration.
Reflect on a time of celebration in your life…
Pope Francis continues…
“In this journey, every time we reach an important milestone, we are challenged by God and by life to make a new beginning. As young people, you are experts in this! You like to take trips, to discover new places and people, and to have new experiences”.
He wrote this message in February before Covid-19 changed everything. It changes the way we see everything, including how we gather and how we celebrate, how we travel, and what we might experience. It might even change what career you want to have after school or what you desire to do.
Take a moment to reflect on how things have changed for you recently in terms of your desires for the future….
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, as we hear in the Gospel, the crowds refused to see him as he truly was but instead placed their personal desires on him. They wanted Jesus to be something that he could not be.
So, take a moment now to think about the following:
Who Jesus is for you?
Where are you journeying?
Who is accompanying you on that journey?
Read the Pope’s World Youth Day message for 2020 here.
We are entering into one of the most unimaginable Holy Weeks of our lifetime. Regardless of how long you have been practicing your faith, the fact that we are unable to celebrate Holy Week as a community is a strange experience. Memories of past celebrations of these liturgies will surely be brought to mind as we go through the week.
Even though this is a challenging and painful time for us to not be able to be together, the choices we make around how we celebrate this Holy Week at home also have a capacity to create an experience we are also unlikely to forget. We can reach into the deep symbolism of our Tradition, washing feet, sharing food, the Cross, darkness and light, the rolling away of the stone and the hope of the Resurrection.
This week, let scripture take you on this journey. Be attentive to it; notice its details, entrust yourself to it. Don’t fill up your prayer with too many words or thoughts or petitions, ‘For your heavenly Father knows all that you need.’ Let each period of prayer begin simply by asking for the grace of this week: to be close to Christ as he does the will of the Father. To touch something of the mystery of his life and love.
Take a moment to contemplate what really is in store from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Jesus seems to be in control here from the outset. He knows what needs to be done and directs the action. He sends his closest friends to get all that he needs ready. If you are one of those friends, how do you react to all of this?
The crowd get caught up in the excitement of it all. Each of them has a part to play, throwing down their cloaks and waving palm branches. If you’re part of this crowd, how does it feel to be involved in this unexpected event?
On the edge of the scene are the Roman authorities, anxious to keep order at a festival when the city is crowded and it would be easy for things to get out of control. If you’re with the Roman garrison here, what’s your response to this noisy demonstration?
You’ve approached this reading from various viewpoints: that of the disciples, of the crowd, of the Romans, and even of Jesus. In these last few moments, speak to that same Jesus now of what you have seen and heard. And let him, in turn, speak to you.
Adapted from: Pray as You Go. Full recording here.
E te Wairua Tapu, even when we feel abandoned, you are with us. Help us to recognise your presence and allow you to renew us when we feel that we are at the end of our road. Be with us in our time of need and give us the strength to be your comforting presence for others. Āmene.
From the Caritas Aotearoa Lent Reflection 2020