Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 10th of April 2022 Palm Sunday

Gospel Reflection for  Sunday the 10th of April 2022

Palm Sunday

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Luke 19:28-40


With Palm Sunday Holy Week starts and we enter the final stretch towards Easter. The Gospel at the beginning of Sunday Mass is about the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Gospel according to John places it six days before the Passover (Jn 12:1).
The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem fulfils the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9: “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It is one of those events in which we can really place ourselves in and and allow the magnificence of it to touch us.
The account in Luke gives us less details compared to the other Gospel accounts, but it is clear that there is a lot of excitement. People were already asking “What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?” (John 11:56). There is something in the air!
As Jesus sits on the donkey and comes down the Mount of Olives his followers are spreading out their cloaks on the ground and they are cutting palm branches and put them in front of Jesus as well singing: “‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’”.
There is a great sense of expectation, something is happening, the King has come! More and more people start seeing the connection of the signs: the donkey, the garments, the coming from the Mount of Olives and even the cleansing the temple.
However, the entry of Jesus also puts the focus of the religious authorities on Jesus. The expectation at the time was that the Messiah would free Israel from the oppression of their enemies. At the time the Romans occupied the country and naturally people expected Jesus to be a political and even military leader despite the donkey on which he rode: an animal of peace not of war like the horse. So while Jesus was a threat to the religious authorities because of His challenging teaching, He was also a threat to disturb the very fragile peace with the Roman occupying forces.
The tragedy is the failure of those in Jerusalem to really recognise who Jesus is. Jesus did not come to relieve us from our earthly slavery but from our spiritual slavery to sin. Through His death and resurrection He has set us free. So Jesus was never a threat to the worldly peace. Palm Sunday starts this journey to walk with Jesus to His cross to liberate us from our spiritual slavery and set us free. This week coming of all weeks is a week to try and prayerfully reflect on all these events which have changed the course of all our lives.
In our reflection this week we can ask some of the questions which came up on the short reflection above.
Do we welcome Jesus as the pilgrims did?
What do we expect from the coming of Jesus, and the week to come?
Or is Palm Sunday just an event and in a way are we also missing the fact that He has come among us and the opportunity to join in the great events that it started in motion?
Maybe at times we even rather have Jesus be done away with because of the inconvenience He causes? Or are we ready to walk with Him and walk though the journey of Holy Week?
Are we those making the long journey to Jerusalem (maybe our journey through Lent) with Jesus or are we putting up with the inconveniences the Festival brings?
This is really a week to walk the journey. Not to let it be a ‘box to be ticked’, but to make it an experience and to reflect on the question “what do you seek” (Jn 1:38). Maybe try and follow the daily Mass readings, follow what is happening, make it a time of sacrificing some time to get closer to Jesus.
-Fr Luuk Jansen O.P.