On the Gospel of Mark 11:1-10
The Gospel passage which is read at the beginning of Mass before the blessing of the Palms (Mk 11:1-10) is about the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, five days before His death on the Cross. The disciples get a young donkey on which Jesus rides into Jerusalem and many spread their garments and palm branches on the ground before him. Those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9)
It is interesting to look at the contrast with the gospel of the Saturday before Palm Sunday, when we are told that the council of the chief priests and the Pharisees decided to put Jesus to death. Just as in the moments before a thunderstorm begins there is a tension in the air, an electricity; something extraordinary is going to happen here, whatever it is! The people are even wondering if Jesus would come to the feast (Jn 11:5).
But then suddenly there is the big spectacle of His entry and there seems to be a spark of hope. Not all is perfect, but something seems to be moving and the people sing “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mk 11:10) their hopes being revived by the apparent imminent coming of the Kingdom of David. But as we now know and come to see more clearly as the week progresses, things will take a sudden turn.
It is like being on a roller coaster, going up one moment, going down the next, swerving left and then suddenly right. Life can be a bit like that: things might be difficult, but suddenly everything seems to come together, prayers are answered, the excitement is tangible. But then again, even though everything seems to be going the right way, it does not materialize, and after some time of hope and anticipation the excitement wears off and we seem to be back at start, our hopes evaporated and our prayers seemingly unanswered.
However, the above is just our human understanding! Maybe this Holy Week it would be worthwhile to meditate on what actually happened nearly two thousand years ago. Never mind the human perception, but try to look from the perspective of the infinite, the divine perception. As we travel through the week the human perception shows defeat, failure, betrayal and denial. But in their midst the greatest accomplishment on earth occurs, unnoticed by everyone bar a few, Jesus purchased for us eternal life!
The world would never be the same again, and even though it seemed like everything was a failure, in the wider scope of the bigger picture, unalterable changes had occurred! So we too should reflect on our lives, and see the bigger picture and learn to trust in God, as Jesus did.
‘As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”’
– Mark 11:1-10