Theme: THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS VICTORIOUS AND GLORIOUS
- Isaiah 50:4-7;
- Psalm 21 (22): 8-9. 17-20. 23-24. R/ v. 2;
- Philippians 2:6-11
- Mark 15:1-39 (Shorter form)
1. Today we celebrate Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday. Passion Sunday is also Palm Sunday because the passion (sufferings) of our Lord is victorious and glorious! The readings today tell us that the passion of our Lord is victorious and glorious!
The first gospel that was read after the blessing of the palms and before the procession tells us that the passion of our Lord is victorious and glorious. The first gospel tells us that the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem was victorious and glorious! (HCSB) The first gospel tells us that the crowds met the Lord with palms shouting: Hosanna (“Save us, we beseech you!”/HCSB)! Blessings on the King (Messiah-King/NJB) of Israel, who comes in the name of the Lord. The first gospel also tells us that the disciples did not understand that the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem was victorious and glorious until He was glorified! Thus we read in the first gospel:
“The crowds who had come up for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessings on the King of Israel, who comes in the name of the Lord.’ …. At the time his disciples did not understand this, but later, after Jesus had been glorified, they remembered that this had been written about him and that this was in fact how they had received him.” (Jn 12:12-13. 16/SM)
2. The gospel of today’s Mass also tells us that the passion of the Lord is victorious and glorious! The gospel of today’s Mass tells us that Barabbas the guilty murderer was set free and Jesus the innocent victim was condemned to death in his place. This is symbolic of Jesus’ death on the cross to set us free from sin and death!
More importantly, the end of today’s gospel tells us that when Jesus died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil of the temple separating the holy of holies which only the high priest could enter only once a year on the Day of Atonement was torn in half from top to bottom. (CSB)
This symbolizes that the Old Testament has been replaced by the New Testament, and that the presence of God is now assessable to all peoples at all times. The end of today’s gospel also tells us that when the pagan centurion saw all that had happened to Jesus, he professed his faith on behalf of all humanity: This man is indeed the son of God! It is this faith in Jesus Christ that saves the whole world! The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed victorious and glorious!
3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the passion of the Lord is victorious. The first reading is taken from the third of four suffering servant songs of Isaiah. The first reading tells us that the suffering servant suffers vicariously on our behalf. But more importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord will save him and through him the Lord will save us all! Thus we read in the first reading:
“I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle. The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.” (Is 50: 6-7/SM)
4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the passion of the Lord is glorious. The words of the response of the responsorial psalm are the words uttered by Jesus on the cross before he died:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 21 (22): 2; Mk 15:34)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first three stanzas (Ps 21 (22): 8-9. 17-20) tell us that the innocent, righteous, faithful suffering servant was being persecuted. But more importantly, the fourth stanza (Ps 21 (22): 23-24) tells us that the suffering servant praises the Lord for delivering him. And most importantly, the end of the original psalm tells us that through him the whole world will be delivered and saved! (Ps 21 (22): 27-31/NJB)
5. Finally, the second reading also tells us that the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed victorious and glorious! Thus we read in the second reading:
“His state was divine, yet Christ Jesus did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are, and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Ph 2:6-11/SM)
6. Again, the palm is a symbol of victory and glory. We have therefore to put the palm with the cross of Jesus Christ to remind ourselves that the cross of Jesus Christ is glorious! We pray that we may carry our crosses and follow Jesus Christ into Holy Week and die with Him on Good Friday, buried with Him on Holy Saturday, and rise with Him on Easter Sunday (The Easter Triduum). The Easter Triduum is one celebration. That is why there is no dismissal on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. There is dismissal only after the Easter Vigil. Good Friday begins on Holy Thursday. So let us come on Holy Thursday! Amen