Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Holy Week begins with Jesus entering triumphantly into Jerusalem. But Jesus must have entered with a heavy heart because it was obvious that authorities were out to get him. So it must have been especially irritating to the authorities to have the people welcome Jesus as a king into Jerusalem. The donkey was the animal a king used when he came in peace. So Jesus enters Jerusalem as the Messiah who brings peace. Even the people recognized this specialness about him. In response they covered the dirt pathway with palm branches and some of their clothing. They sang their Hosannas that is a prayer of petition: "Please save us now."
The Gospel for the Procession of Palms — Mark 11.1-10
When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ""Go into the village opposite you and immediately after entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone should say to you ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The master has need of it and will send it back here at once.’" So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street and they untied it. Some of the bystanders said to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?" They answered them Just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. Many spread their cloaks on the road and others spread leafy branches that they cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: "Hosanna! Blessed is he whom comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest."
Questions for reflection:
- As you begin holy week, what are you going to do to be more conscious of the tragic events surrounding the betrayal, rejection and the crucifixion of Jesus?
- The crowds were recognizing Jesus as Messiah on Sunday and many of the same people shouted to crucify him five days later. Was it a mob mentality or the fickleness of the human condition? How can I be more consistent in expressing what I believe?
- What must have been going on in the hearts and minds of Jesus with the adulation of the crowds and the threats that awaited him in Jerusalem?
- Jesus carries with him as Risen Lord the dreadful memories of what happened to him during Holy Week. Do I see in the Risen Lord someone who understands the hurt I feel at times, a sense of betrayal from those I love, the fear of dying, and the physical suffering I experience?