Rorate Caeli

Palm Sunday: Jesus Teaches Humility

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her.


  1. "And standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment."

    Luke 7:38

  2. I just watched a recording of the Holy Father's Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Square. At the appropriate point in the reading of the passion, he knelt on the prie-dieu, and rose, with minimal or no assistance. However, he still only bowed for the Consecration of the Host and the Chalice.

    Apologies for continually asking this question, but I'm still wondering why he doesn't genuflect. It doesn't appear to be due to any health-related issues. Is it an adoption on his part of the Eastern custom to bow rather than genuflect? Has he ever commented on this?

    Also, after the Pater noster, he shifted to Italian for the rest of the Communion Rite of the Mass. Has this been customary in pontifical Masses of John Paul II and Benedict XVI?

    Just wondering....

  3. Joanne10:15 PM

    When the Modernists talk about stripping the Church of her riches I think of this passage. Thank you.

  4. St. Augustine remarks on how one can imitate the action of the Magadalene here: "Anoint the feet of Jesus by good living, follow the Lord’s footsteps: if you have a superfluity, give to the poor, and you have wiped the Lord’s feet; for the hair is a superfluous part of the body."

  5. I went to a Latin Mass in Seattle yesterday for Palm Sunday, and it lasted a full two hours. I grew up in Vatican II and wanted to discover and experience the Mass of my parents and grandparents. It was beautiful, but very hard to follow.

    In fact, I felt completely lost during the Mass. I was able to latch onto the long Latin scriptural reading and follow along, even though I do not read Latin.

    Is there a kind of Tridentine Mass for Dummies book or website that one could refer to me? I would like to orient myself in the Mass and feel more at home in it. I have my dad's St. Andrew Daily Missal, but don't understand how it is used. Thank you.

  6. Dolores10:37 PM

    Uncle Clairbone, while this is only a general comment, I am from South America and many many priests there only bow at the consecration, and very quickly too. So sad. Or they may only genuflect once, after the consecration of the chalice.

    Thaxter, you were blessed to be at a traditional Latin Mass on Palm Sunday... I am too far away from any chapel. It is one of the most beautiful ceremonies of the year but it is also a bit different from everyday Mass, because of the blessing of the Palms and the long Gospel. I don't know a website, but structurally it's not too different from a modern Mass. Basically, there are the prayers of the Ordinary part of the Mass (which are always the same: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) and then the Propers (Introit, Gradual, Epistle, Gospel, Offertory, Communion). I think your St Andrews Missal should have the Ordinary part of the Missal in the middle. You only have to flip back and forth from the main part of the Mass (Ordinary) to the Mass of the day. I hope that helps.

  7. Anonymous11:24 PM

    Thaxter, start here:

    You may also want to read "Mass in Slow Motion."

    If you follow the missal you'll pick it up surprisingly quick. However, I'd worry less about knowing exactly what part you're on, and more just watching and listening. Especially if it is a High Mass. Just relax, take in the chant or polyphony, and pray while watching and listening.

    You can become a liturgical expert later! There's no rush.

  8. Thanks, Dolores! So far, I've noticed the Holy Father do both of the things you described. Generally it seems to be a bow after each consecration, but at his installation Mass it was "Consecrate Host, no bow or genuflection, consecrate Chalice, genuflection."

    I find this behavior disturbing, especially since it's now apparent that it's not due to any health issues. Oh well, it's only the rubrics, right? Who cares about those pesky things....

  9. Ora et Labora2:39 AM


    "And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her."

    Our brothers and sisters in the world who are poor, who are sick, who are in need, who are humble, who are alone, need to know that it is our DUTY as followers of Christ to care for them and to provide aid in their need.

    Please rest assured that ALL of you who need help and are in need you will find help within the Church.

    But it is more IMPORTANT to remember that WITHOUT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST and WITHOUT TRUE CATHOLICISM we are NOTHING AND WE CAN DO NOTHING for you or for ourselves.

    I hope and pray our present Holy Father knows that.

  10. Barbara6:12 AM

    In the meantime, Pope Francis in his greetings for the Jewish Passover, asked Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni to pray for him - I heard it in the news and it is true...

  11. Delores and Adfero, thanks very much for your comments. And that's a great online tutorial that you linked, thank you! I like your advice to not rush it, just take it in and enjoy the beauty of it. And yes, I feel lucky that there is a traditional Latin Mass nearby -- the North American Martyrs, part of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

  12. Gratias5:55 AM

    Pope Francis may hurt the Church with his emphasis on humility. You could give all the Vatican treasures to the poor and Catholicism would be the poorer for it. The Holy Father is now saying he may stay at Domus Sanctae Martae , the hotel for Cardinals and other prelates when visiting Rome, instead of taking up the Pontifical Apartments at the Apostolic Palace. This would be a security nightmare. When in Rome do like the Romans. I hope he comes around.


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!