Passion Sunday - 25th March, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

 

THE IRONY THAT IS PALM SUNDAY

 

 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo your King comes to you;
Triumphant and riding on a donkey
On a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zech 9:9

 

We celebrate today this triumphal journey of Jesus coming with his disciples over the Mount of Olives. It is near the end of his long journey towards Golgotha.  Expected and lauded as a king, he rides on a colt, the foal of a donkey!  So this is the King, long awaited to be the one to free the nation!  Yes he is, but the spiritual freedom of his people has been his constant message.  The irony is that he rides on the lowliest of beasts, not on a horse or in a chariot flanked by an important entourage.

He arrives outside Jerusalem ‘the place of peace’ as it is called.  Palms are raised in the crowd and strewn at his feet along the way of his procession.  Jesus chooses his own way of entry; a way common to the ordinary folk of the area and conveyed by the method of these people.  In fact, he even has a borrowed beast, indicating his place among the poor.

As Jesus comes here, he is welcomed by the multitude who somehow understand that he is the messiah!  But where is his kingdom?  It is not yet time to manifest it.  His death and resurrection will complete his prophetic reign on earth and will establish his kingdom for ever.  The shouts of the crowds following Jesus and leading him on his journey echo the words of prophecy found in Psalm 118:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord …

The message of Palm Sunday is truly relevant in our lives.  How do we see ourselves as disciples of the one who comes in lowliness?  Are not the trappings of wealth and honour still present in our Church?  Are we not aligned to those in the crowd resenting the unexpected mode of the entry by Jesus.  The First Reading of the Mass of Palm Sunday begs us to honour our discipleship.

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue!

Pamela Davis OP