PASSION ( PALM ) SUNDAY 12 B
The Church is a master of drama in the liturgies of this week.There are two parades described in the two Gospels for this Palm Sunday’s liturgy. This entrance into
He was coming onto center stage. This was high noon. There was a price on His head. He was an outlaw wanted dead or alive. They would be searching for Him. But He was not about to go into that dark, dark night quietly. We could view Him as doing a foolish thing as He enters the city of His arrest, suffering, and death.
This leads to the other picture where Jesus leaves
The Liturgy of Palms and the Liturgy of the Passion clearly state the duality of our human response to God throughout history. We all become part of the action. Most of us feel embarrassed to cry "Crucify Him" with the palm branches still in our hands. We feel like hypocrites. Sometimes we welcome him in and other times we push him away.
The seventeenth century Dutch genius Rembrandt painted a crucifixion. At the foot of His cross are the figures of scripture. However, off in a corner of the masterpiece is the face of an uncomfortable intruder. It is Rembrandt. He was reminding himself that he too because of his sins was responsible for the painful death of his Saviour.
We should borrow a brush from Rembrandt and paint our faces into the passion picture. We have much more to do with it than we care to admit. When we turn our back on love we reject God who is love.
AFTER PASSION GOSPEL
We see in these disciples’ lives, images of ourselves. Often our love for Jesus has compelled us to make some commitment of heart, only to discover soon after that our good intentions have been abandoned due to our human weakness, or due to concern about what others think. Betrayal, infidelity, abandonment!
Which is the greater pain? That of the body or the soul? The ancient world believed that the soul, not the body, feels pain and suffering, and the greater pain was the betrayal, infidelity and ultimately even abandonment rather than physical wound. Those standing near the cross heard these words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabacthani?" Christians throughout the centuries have puzzled about these words: How could Jesus - who is God - feel abandoned by God? Of all the words attributed to Jesus on the cross in all four Gospels, this has the highest claim to authenticity. It is preserved in the oldest tradition. It was offensive to the later evangelists, Luke and John, who substituted more harmless words for it. The cry certainly expresses the scandal of the cross more profoundly than anything else. Dietrich Bonhoeffer - a Christian pastor imprisoned and executed by the Nazis - wrote about the reality of Jesus' desolation on the cross. Jesus took upon himself our sins and he experienced the worst consequence of sin: separation from God.