Palm Sunday- Mk 14:1—15:47
Palm Sunday signals the beginning of the Holy Week, a week that changed the world. The Gospel narrative of today spans two whole chapters of Mark’s Gospel and takes us through the drama of the Holy Week. It is a blow by blow account of betrayal, deceit and treachery.
In Chapter 11 of the same Gospel, we are told that Jesus entered Jerusalem; it was Palm Sunday. He then spends the next three days in and around the temple. Thrice in this period He sets foot in the temple under the glare of his opponents and amidst several traps set by the Jewish authority. They make their hate for Him very clear. Finally in chapter 13 he leaves for the Mount of Olives where He shares his last discourse with His disciples.
The Gospel of today begins with the plot to kill Jesus, a plot hatched by ‘Holy men’ in a Holy week. Jesus is at Bethany at the home of Simon the leper. It is here that a woman poured ointment on His head, an act that Jesus declared as the anointment for His burial. It is on this day that Judas sold Jesus.
Knowing that His betrayal was at hand, Jesus sits down to celebrate the Passover, leaving His disciples and us with an everlasting memorial in the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It is in Gethsemane that He prays to His Father; His disciples are overcome with sleep and thrice He has to wake them from their slumber. He is alone but not lonely for He clings to the presence of His Father in heaven to whom He prays
It is in this garden that with a single kiss the Son of God is betrayed and then dragged before a mock council of treacherous plotters who could not get their false testimonies to align with each other. It is in a courtyard that Peter, the first Pope, denounces his friend and Saviour and so Jesus is hauled before the charade of Pilate’s trial, who hands Him over to be flogged and crucified.
Finally, the Son of God is spat upon, stripped of His clothing and nailed to a cross on Golgotha at nine in the morning. From noon to three pm, as darkness covered the earth, He uttered the seven last words from the cross and giving a loud cry gave up His spirit.
There is nothing more tragic than the events of a week which began with Hosannas and ended with “Crucify Him”. The question is where do we fit into this narrative in the year 2018? In fact, little has changed. Palm Sunday is a merely reflection of humanity in its relation to God. When the going is good it’s a “Hosanna” from us; when the going gets rough we cry, “Crucify Him”.
If Palm Sunday could be summed up in one word it would be ‘fickle’; for how else do we explain the Messiah who healed the blind, raised the dead, fed the multitude and now put to death?There seems to be nothing ‘holy’ in this ‘Holy week’ and yet it is Holy because of the acts of one man, the Holy One; Jesus.
Written on behalf of the Holy Spirit
Fr Warner D’Souza
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