Sunday, March 29, 2015 is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. The readings will be:
Mark 11:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; and Mark 14:1-15:47. Although most of us still commonly refer to this Sunday as “Palm Sunday,” its actual title includes a reference to the passion of Jesus. During the Palm Sunday liturgy we will receive blessed palms and hear the account of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In Mark’s account of Jesus’ arrival, the crowds lay their cloaks and leafy branches on the roadway where Jesus will ride as they proclaim, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We will also hear Mark’s account of the passion of our Lord, beginning at the Last Supper and ending with Jesus’ burial in the tomb. In calling this Sunday “Passion Sunday,” the church is asking us to experience Palm Sunday as the anticipation of Good Friday. Our first reading from Isaiah describes the “suffering servant of the lord,” one who foreshadows Jesus. As Mark describes Jesus in his version of the passion, we picture a man who very much resembles the servant whom Isaiah describes.
Jesus, too, is one who is willing to go where God’s work leads him, even when it requires enduring indignity and suffering. Jesus’ ride amidst palms and hosannas is, in a sense, the beginning of the end of his earthly life; it is a step towards his cross. In a few days’ time the shouts of praise will be replaced by shouts of “Crucify Him!” The Church invites us to consider this irony and to see how our own lives are reflected in this Gospel account.
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