Posts Tagged ‘Mary (mother of Jesus)’

Palm Sunday (or Passion Sunday)

English: Description: Left Apsis: Jesus enteri...

English: Description: Left Apsis: Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Fresco in the Parish Church of Zirl, Austria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy week begins with the sixth Sunday in Lent. This Sunday observes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem that was marked by the crowds who were in Jerusalem for Passover waving palm branches and proclaiming him as the messianic king. The Gospels tell us that Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, enacting the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 and in so doing emphasized the humility that was to characterize the Kingdom he proclaimed. The irony of his acceptance as the new Davidic King (Mark 11:10) by the crowds who would only five days later cry for his execution should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.

Traditionally, worshippers enact the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem by the waving of palm branches and singing songs of celebration. Sometimes this is accompanied by a processional into the church.

This Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday to commemorate the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final agonising journey to the Cross. The English word passion comes from a Latin word that means ‘to suffer,’ the same word from which we derive the English word patient.

In most Protestant traditions, the liturgical colour for The Season of Lent is purple, and that colour is used until Easter Sunday. In Catholic tradition (and some others), the colours are changed to Red for Palm Sunday. Red is the colour of the church, used for Pentecost as well as remembering the martyrs of the church. Since it symbolizes shed blood, it is also used on Palm Sunday to symbolize the death of Jesus. While most Protestants celebrate the Sunday before Easter as Palm Sunday, in Catholic and other church traditions it is also celebrated as Passion Sunday anticipating the impending death of Jesus. In some Church traditions (Anglican), the church colours are changed to red for the fifth Sunday in Lent, with the last two Sundays observed as Passiontide.

Increasingly, many churches are incorporating an emphasis on the Passion of Jesus into services on Palm Sunday as a way to balance the celebration of Easter Sunday.”

The Visitation

 

Philippe de Champaigne, La Visitation. Museo d...

Philippe de Champaigne, La Visitation. Museo de Arte e Historia de Ginebra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord, Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, soon to be the mother of John the Baptist. This visit is recorded in Luke 1:39-56. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary burst forth with the song of praise which we call the Magnificat, beginning, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” We are told that even John the Baptist, still unborn, leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Thus we are shown, side by side, the two women, one seemingly too old to have a child, but destined to bear the last prophet of the Old Covenant, of the age that was passing away; and the other woman, seemingly not ready to have a child, but destined to bear the One Who was Himself the beginning of the New Covenant, the age that would not pass away.

Annunciation

Sandro Botticelli's Annunciation, painted from...

Sandro Botticelli’s Annunciation, painted from 1489-1490, is an example of Quattrocento art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Annunciation (anglicised from the Latin Vulgate Luke 1:26-39 Annuntiatio navititatis Christi), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian Celebration of the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Yehoshua, meaning “YHWH is salvation”. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus. According to Luke 1:26, the Annunciation occurred “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. Irenaeus (c. 130-202) of Lyon regarded the conception of Jesus as 25 March coinciding with the Passion.

Approximating the northern vernal equinox, the date of the Annunciation also marked the New Year in many places, including England, where it is called Lady Day. Both the Roman and Orthodox Catholic Churches hold that the Annunciation took place at Nazareth, but slightly differ as to the precise location. The Basilica of the Annunciation marks the site preferred by the former, while the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation marks that preferred by the latter.

The Annunciation has been a key topic in Christian art in general, as well as the Marian art in the Catholic Church, particularly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.