Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

“And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split...” (Matthew 27:51.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Passion proclaimed at Mass today:

“Anyone who searches the Scriptures with some diligence will see that there were two curtains, an inner curtain which covered the Holy of Holies and another curtain exterior to either the tabernacle or the temple. These two curtains are figures of the holy tabernacle which the Father prepared from the beginning. Of the two curtains, one “was torn into two parts from the top all the way to the bottom.” This happened at the time when Jesus “cried out with a loud voice and gave up his spirit.” Thereby the divine mystery was revealed that in the Passion of the Lord our Savior the outer curtain was torn from the top, which represents the beginning of the world, to the bottom, representing the end of the world. Thus by the tearing of the curtain the mysteries were disclosed, which with good reason had been hidden until the coming of Christ. Both the outer curtain and inner curtain would have been torn if it had not been the case that we still know only “in part” and if it had not been the case that everything were already revealed to the beloved disciples of Christ who constitute his body. As it is, however, because we are being brought gradually to the knowledge of new things, only the outer curtain is “torn from top to bottom.” But “when the perfect comes” and the other things which now remain hidden are revealed, then the second curtain may also be removed. We will then see even the things which were hidden within the second curtain: the true ark of the covenant, the cherubim, the true mercy seat and the storehouse of manna in a golden bowl, and all these clearly — and even things greater than these. All of this has been revealed through the law of Moses when God said to him, “Make everything according to their forms which were shown to you on the mountain.”” (Commentary on Matthew, 138.)

Almighty and ever-living God,
Who as an example of humility
for the human race to follow
caused our Savior
to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed
His lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in His Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen