Engaging the Gospel – Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year B): Gospel – Mark 14:1-15:47

“My own sin was present in that terrifying chalice.”

So writes Benedict XVI in his reflection on the Lord’s Passion in Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 2 (p. 156).

The Pope Emeritus teaches us that Sunday’s Gospel is not simply a recitation of what occurred in a certain week in Jerusalem. Rather, it unfolds the entire drama of our salvation, and mystically encompasses all of human history:

Palm Sunday was not a thing of the past. Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church saw him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine.

— ibid., p. 10.

This is why we proclaim the “Hosanna” at Mass, as we prepare to welcome the Lord in the Eucharist.

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem was marked by Messianic imagery (pp. 3-7), but only through the Cross did He inaugurate His kingdom. His agony was not just a natural aversion to pain.

Because Jesus is God, “He sees with total clarity the whole foul flood of evil,” every sin ever committed. He suffers immensely when “the full power of destruction, evil, and enmity with God” is “unleashed upon Him…All this He must take into Himself” (p. 155).

Through this contact, the filth of the world is truly absorbed, wiped out, and transformed in the pain of infinite love…God Himself drinks the cup of every horror to the dregs and thereby restores justice through the greatness of His love.

— ibid., pp. 231-32.

Question for reflection: Which person in the Passion narrative do I identify with most?