March 28, 2021: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Gospel Reading: Mark 14:22-26
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink in new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Excerpted from the Palm Sunday Gospel of Mark 14: 1- 15:47)
Today we enter into Holy Week, the most solemn days of the Christian tradition. The full text of the Gospel of the Passion according to Mark tells of the events leading up to Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and ends with Jesus’ death and burial. At that point, the disciples have scattered out of fear and anguish. According to Mark, only two women remain as the stone is rolled to close the tomb. One can only imagine the depth of their sorrow. Jesus’ followers, those closest to him, those he loved did not understand that he had not left them forever. But we understand that he is with us always, especially in the breaking of the bread. In the Eucharist.
Take time during this coming week to read Mark’s entire Gospel for this Palm Sunday. Read it slowly and think of yourself as being present for the events told in the passion story. Would you have stayed awake to keep watch while Jesus prayed at Gethsemane? Would you have admitted you followed Jesus or denied it as did Peter? How would you have felt in the angry crowd as they shouted “Crucify him” and would you have shouted those words too, out of fear? Would you have stayed at the cross and the tomb or been in hiding like the disciples? This Gospel story is rich in inspiration for prayer and meditation during Holy Week.