Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: The Cross Is before Us

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Procession Gospel:
Year A: Matthew 21:1–11;
Year B: Mark 11:1–10 or
John 12:12–16; Year C: Luke 19:28–40
First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading:
Year A, B, C: Isaiah 50:4–7;
Psalm 22:8–9, 17–18, 19–20, 23–24;
Philippians 2:6–11
Gospel:
Year A: Matthew 26:14—27:66;
Year B: Mark 14:1—15:47;
Year C: Luke 22:14—23:56

“They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him.” —John 12:13


The cross is before us now with its wordless challenge to love beyond death. Take some time this week to think about events in your own life that have given you an experience of Jesus’s command to pick up your cross and follow him.

St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis. Raised in a wealthy family, whose home overlooked the piazza of Assisi’s cathedral, she must have heard Francis preaching often. Moved by his radical message of Gospel poverty, she made up her mind to follow him and his companions. On the night of Palm Sunday in 1212 she left her home and walked through the darkened streets to the gate that led to her new life. It can be difficult for us to imagine what a drastic decision this was for Clare.

We, too, are called to move out of our comfort zones, to take steps to follow the Gospel more radically in our lives. They might be small steps or they might be as drastic as Clare leaving home to work among the poor and the lepers. What these steps have in common is faith that God is leading us on this journey. And just as Francis and his brothers welcomed Clare, the communion of saints encourages us on our way.


Prayer

Most High, Glorious God,
bring light to the darkness of my heart,
give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity.
Lord, give me insight and wisdom
so I might always discern
your holy and true will.
Amen.


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