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
To this day, pilgrims trace the steps of St. Clare of Assisi on the evening of Palm Sunday 1212. She left her home, in an upper level of the city of Assisi, Italy, next to the cathedral, and made her way down, down, down, through the narrow streets, coming at last to the city gate. There, her choice to follow the gospel, in poverty and surrender to God, was made definitive as she stepped out into the night. Joined by Francis and his companions, Clare made her way to the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, known as the Porziuncola. Her hair was cut off, symbolic of her dedication to God, and she received the simple dress of a nun.
In a film that I made in the 1990s about walking in the footsteps of Francis and Clare, we recreated Clare’s walk through the night on the streets of Assisi. We could see the challenge Clare faced going into a darkened world, full of dangers.
Clare’s vocation, nurtured in her family’s home with her mother and sisters, had grown into a longing to live the gospel life in simple service. She identified with Francis’ gospel vision, and together they forged a spiritual partnership that blossomed into a great religious family.
On this Palm Sunday, as we walk with Jesus into Jerusalem, fully aware of what awaits, let us walk with the wonder and the questions of St. Clare.
Today’s Action Make a pilgrimage of your own today, walking the streets of your neighborhood.
Jesus, help us enter with you into the mystery of your dying and rising. May we reflect on the saving events of Holy Week and so come to Easter joy. Amen.