Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16 (Entrance Rite), Book of the Prophet Isaiah 50:4-7,
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24, Philippians 2:6-11, & Mark 14:1-15:47
Liturgically, Palm Sunday ushers in the dramatic events of Holy Week. As Jesus and His disciples “triumphantly” enter Jerusalem, we should take notice of the oddity of this “triumph.” The people cheered, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” In today’s culture, Jesus was being welcomed like we would greet a visiting dignitary from another country. The oddity of this treatment is that it is so different from the down-to-earth life and service of the man who ministered to the needs of His countrymen, the Galileans.
So, here we are. The Gospel that accompanies today’s entrance rite has Jesus just outside Jerusalem—waiting to enter. The journey to this point has been long and difficult. Jesus and His disciples had to rely on newly made friends to give them food and shelter. For three years, Jesus had to maintain the spirit of His ministry as well as to His disciples who left their homes in order to follow Him.
Saint Mark’s Gospel is based on this journey as it traces our Lord’s movements from the ministry around His home in Galilee to Jerusalem where He will be tried, die a cruel death, and be raised to new life by His heavenly Father.
The last act of the drama is ready to unfold. The journey is far from a commercial for a travelogue of places and events that capture the times and sites of the surrounding region. Their journey is, in itself, a kind of a theological account of Jesus’ life and its deeper purposes.
Having said that, Jerusalem is more than a geographical place, but a symbol of Jesus’ entire aim from His Father’s perspective. That is, Jerusalem is the end of His journey, but, more importantly, the place where the crucial events of Jesus’ life will unfurl. His death and His resurrection. The events of the day when our Lord enters Jerusalem is the reminder of God’s saving love for all of us.
Question of the Day: Will you walk with Jesus this week into Jerusalem as well as with Him to Golgotha?
Prayer: Lord, guide us as we come to understand your great love in your Son, Jesus. Help us to heed Your call to integrity and faithfulness modeled by Jesus’ life. Be with us at all moments of our lives, especially those moments that we selfishly prefer ourselves to Your life-giving Word. Amen.