Scripture: Lectionary 38. April 1, 2012. Palm Narrative Mark 11:1-10. (John 12:12-16) Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11. Psalm 22:8-9.17-18.19-20.23-24. Passion Narrative of Mark 14:1-15:47
Mark’s account of the procession is not the same in Matthew, Luke, and John where larger crowds are gathered to celebrate the messianic kingdom with Jesus as the one leading people into it. Mark is more reserved in his narrative. The expression of “our father David” is unique to Mark and suggests that the cry coming from the smaller crowd of the disciples and followers of Jesus means that the “Kingdom of our Father! The Kingdom of David!” is meant. The expression ‘Hosanna’ is found only here in the four Gospels and may mean send us help from heaven. Ordinarily ‘hosanna’ would mean “Help us!” Here it may be a greeting of homage for Jesus entering the city. The Scripture text of Zecharia 9:9 is recalled in Matthew to reflect prophetically what is happening as Jesus mounts and rides a young colt or donkey upon entering Jerusalem. It is only Matthew who gives us the full citation: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.”(Matthew 21:4-5).
From this point on the Passion Narratives will lead us through the succeeding six days of Jesus’ life—more than any other place in the Gospels, it is here where we follow Jesus most closely. One Scripture scholar is convinced that before the rest of the content of the Gospels were written, the Passion Narrative had already been handed on to the Christians. “In the beginning was the Passion Narrative!”
Mark 14:1-15:47 immediately follows after this short Palm Sunday celebration. We are now in full swing toward the most solemn time of the liturgical year. All four Evangelists give us their descriptions of what transpires. We may wish to concentrate on St. Mark’s version since this is the year dedicated to the Gospel of Mark (Cycle B in the Liturgical Calendar).
We thus pass quickly from the exuberance of Palm Sunday to the days of awe that follow. Now we are even more motivated than at the beginning of Lent to be with Jesus in his sufferings and death. Mark helps us to focus more intensely on the Passion for his theology of following Jesus as disciples is through his Gospel, the Gospel of the Cross. We realize that our salvation is near. We are led to trust in the promises Jesus has made to us in his predictions about these days. Our faith and our hope will lead us into the mystery of the Resurrection. God’s supreme unconditional love awaits us in another Easter season. Amen.