28th March 2021, Year B Mk 11:1-10 Is 50:4-7 Psalm 22:8-9.17-18a. 19-20.23-24 Phil 2:6-11 Mk 14:1-15:47 Today, our mother Church celebrates with her children the Palm Sunday. This opens the week known as the Holy Week with the climax on Holy Thursday, Goof Friday and Easter Vigil. For our meditation, two Gospels are proposed. The first one taken from Mk 11:1-10 (proclaimed during the procession), recounts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Before him a crowd spreads their garments and leafy branches on the road and shouting with joy “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” what a beautiful image! Any good Christian would wish to be part of this solemn events but unfortunately it is this week that we have chosen to lockdown some cities despite the high percentage of Catholics in our Country, to fight Covid; and this
for two consecutive years. At the time of Jesus, it was the Pharisees who tried to shut Jesus’ disciples up; today, who are those new Pharisees who are trying to Shut us up using many excuses? To those people, the answer of Jesus is clear “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out” (Lk19:39-40).
The second Gospel is from Mk 14:1-15:47. In this Gospel, the full events of Jesus’ passion is read and it will be repeated on Good Friday. In the liturgy of the Church, the passion and the death of Jesus on the Cross have a central place. The question is why do we continue to remember, in all their shameful and gory details, the humiliation and crucifixion of Jesus who was Love Incarnate, who came on earth to bring light, healing, forgiveness and peace? It was not the price that the Father demanded for sins
It could sound quite sadist neither the result of a martyr complex on the part of Jesus. Though Jesus embraced freely the Cross, he did not look for it. Rather, it was the final solution which was found by Jesus’ opponents which is actually in accordance with God’s plan; “you know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” (Jn11:49-50), says Caiaphas in yesterday’s Gospel. Jesus’ suffering and death shows us, with startling clarity, what happens to self-forgetful love in a world ruled by the demons of hatred and violence. Jesus could have avoided the Cross but only by turning aside from his mission of proclaiming and inaugurating God’s reign of justice, peace and love.
And this he could not and would not do. To reveal the full extent of God’s love for us, he had to endure suffering and death. The events we recall today represent the final phase and climax of Jesus’ life- giving mission of love. Out of love, Jesus accepted all sufferings; he was betrayed, arrested, imprisoned, interrogated, scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, forced to carry a cross, stripped, and finally nailed and hung on the cross until he expired. He did this for the greater glory that is to come, namely the resurrection through which we see the weakness of the divine love in our world not in terms of a tragic defeat but as a glorious victory.
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, you said that when you are lifted up from the earth, you will draw all men to yourself. As we are remembering your passion and death through which we have full life, grant that we may participate in this mystery with our heart full of praise in expectation of your resurrection. We ask this through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of sorrows;