Year A: Palm Sunday
Gospels: Matthew 21: 1-11 and Matthew’s Passion Story 26: 14-27.66
Today marks the threshold of Holy Week - and the Gospels of the Day highlight the triumphs and tragedies that await our commemoration.
In the first Gospel, we commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. He is greeted as a king. The crowds come out to greet Him - singing His praises. They hail the One who is to save them - but have no idea how that salvation is to be accomplished.
We cannot imagine what Jesus felt as He approached the city gates. Did He guess that He would enter in triumph through one gate - and leave as a condemned criminal through another a few days later. Had He seen the uprights of the crosses which were permanently in place - in readiness for executions? And did He sense that this was where the story would seem to end?
Whatever His thoughts - whatever His feelings, Jesus sets His face towards the city - and, for a time enjoys the favour of the crowds who see in Him their hope of freedom.
Perhaps, it was disillusionment that this freedom was too long in coming that made Judas go to the chief priests - or perhaps, he was trying to force Jesus’ hand - to prove to them all who He was.
Again, we cannot know, but his visit to the chief priests set in motion the chain of events that move nightmarishly quickly to their conclusion on Calvary.
They begin gently enough with the Passover Meal - but even now, Jesus has a great sense of foreboding - a foreboding which turns to dread when He goes to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane later that night.
A series of interrogations - humiliation - torture - the crowd’s calling for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus - what were these like for the One who was at the receiving end of so much hatred and abuse?
The terrible journey to Calvary bearing the burden of the cross to which He knew He was to be nailed - the prolonged agony of death by crucifixion - and the utter loss as He feels abandoned even by God....
Triumph and tragedy - commemorated in one liturgy...
What does it mean for me?
Text © 2007 WellspringWeekly Wellsprings |