April 9, 2017: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
At the Procession with Palms
When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
Say to daughter Zion, “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
The Gospel for today’s Mass is the passion, but this short gospel at the beginning of the Palm Sunday Procession sets the stage. It gives us a chance to look carefully at Jesus, his disciples and the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Jesus’ instructions are given as the master, knowing what would happen before it happened. (Can you imagine his feelings as he sets the stage to act out the Old Testament prophecies?)
Jesus had remarkable intuition about the hearts of people, he knew how he had struggled to tell his disciples that he would have to suffer and die hoping for some companionship from them. At one point after Jesus’ prediction of his passion, they argued about who would be first in the kingdom.
Catch the spirit of the crowd as they welcome Jesus. Reflect on what changes this crowd to those who later yelled, “Crucify him!”
Make the Stations of the Cross sometime this week and at each station ask yourself, “What was Jesus feeling?”
Try to simply accompany him, be present to him, don’t think of yourself, your sins, simply be with him with all the feelings of a deathwatch of a beloved relative or friend.
To keep holy week is hard work, soul work.