Gospel Reflections

Feast of Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-10

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Maureen Lomax

Published: March 29, 2015

Read Mark 11:1-10

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,he sent two of his disciples and said to... Read More…


WHAT DOES THE MASTER NEED?

The last week of Jesus’ ministry was spent in and near Jerusalem. The first day of the final week, called Palm or Passion Sunday by Christians, was when Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph. His disciples acclaimed him as the Messiah with enthusiasm. Others, recognising the arrival of someone of importance, joined in, but others took note and informed the religious leaders of possible blasphemy.

[The term ‘Master’ or ‘Lord’ (‘owner’ in Mk 11:3) may be used; it is a term of respect but probably did not have the meaning of ‘overlord’ or ‘dominating superior person’ that we may be inclined to assume today. Although this event would seem to establish that the disciples recognised Jesus as the Messiah, in reality the events that follow reveal their uncertainties and wavering faith.]

REFLECTIONS OF THE MASTER (Mk 11:1-10)

What did I, the Master, need in Bethpage and Bethany?
It was the love, loyalty and faithfulness of my friends: the closeness of Mary who often sat at my feet as she pondered my words and actions; the busyness of Martha, always occupied with practical household tasks but able to proclaim me as ‘the Christ;’  the presence of Lazarus, for whom I wept as I shared the grief of his family and friends; also many others who became my disciples. I needed their presence but would they stay with me on this journey to Jerusalem? Did they know there would be great suffering to come? Did I?

What did I, the Master, fear?
I was filled with anxiety and even terror as I anticipated the journey into Jerusalem, knowing that the Chief Priests and Pharisees plotted to put me to death: “It is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed” (Jn 11:50) said Caiaphas. Fulfilling my father’s will was not easy. The Messianic prophecies, which I had known from my childhood, made clear that I would be sacrificed. Jerusalem, the only acceptable place for sacrificial worship, would be where I would become the ‘sacrificial lamb.’ Did Simeon and Anna understand this when they witnessed my formal Presentation to God in the Temple when I was a baby? Did my own mother and father foresee any of this when my mother was told that I would be ‘rejected’ and that her heart would be pierced with a ‘sword’ (Lk 2;23-24). Did I?

What did I, the Master, say?
When I was among my many friends and disciples from nearby Bethphage and Bethany, I instructed two disciples to go ahead and find a colt (a young unridden donkey). Outwardly I was calm and spoke with authority: “Go to the village…find a colt…untie it and bring it here…the Master needs it.”  Local bystanders, although initially concerned about the removal of the colt, accepted that I was in a position (the owner?) to take the animal. All was done as I requested. Then cloaks were put on the beast and I sat astride, ready to ride into Jerusalem. All seemed well. There was even excitement in the air! Could this be right? Was I deceived?

What did I, the Master, see?
I rode into Jerusalem, the ‘city of peace,’ on a donkey, the symbol of peace. My disciples rejoiced as I entered the city like an important person, yet with humility and no grand display of wealth or power. People were puzzled yet their cloaks were thrown to the ground before my donkey. I was surprised at this welcome from ordinary people and my disciples. Many pulled branches from the trees, waved them and placed them on the ground. In the past I had seen important statesmen greeted like this but I was obviously only a carpenter’s son from Nazareth so what made them greet me like this? I rode on with more confidence as I saw acceptance in the eyes of many. But I could not read the thoughts of all! Do they really know what this about? Do I?

What did I, the Master, hear?
I heard great faith in God expressed in the shouted acclamations: “Hosannas! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!” There was the recognition of Messianic fulfilment in “Blessing on the coming kingdom of our father David!” and the recognition of God’s presence in “Hosanna in the highest heavens!” Did my followers understand fully that I am the awaited Messiah? Would their faith remain strong? Their proclamations were surely challenges to the misuse of the Temple (cf. cleansing Mk 11:15-19) and to the religious leaders who did not recognise me as the Christ, the fulfilment of their scriptures. As I had heard them before and knew that finally I would be rejected. I wondered how many of those who shouted ‘Hosanna’ would go on to yell ‘Crucify him!’  a few days later? Will I hear myself say “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do!”  Afterwards, I “entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple…but as it was already late… went to Bethany with the twelve disciples” – near to my friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus” (Mk11:11).

MY REFLECTIONS
So, what does the Master want from me?

Reflect and respond in your own way.

“Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised Him high and gave Him the name above all other names.”

 

 

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