Reflections for Palm Sunday, March 24, 2024

Brothers & Sisters

As we turn our attention to the momentous events of this final week of the Passion, we take note of the fact that although the church has retained a place in its Liturgy for the observance of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, it is by no means the dominant theme for the Sunday of the Passion. Instead, the primary focus is on the ‘Passion Narrative’, that is, the journey beginning from the Garden of Gethsemane, leading on to the Cross on Calvary, and finally ending at the tomb. And so in Year A we focus on Matthew’s account, in Year C on Luke’s account, and in Year B, which is the current liturgical year, we focus on Mark’s account. John’s account is reserved for Good Friday. Given the limitation of our attention span, the practice has been to shorten the readings, to dramatize them, to allow persons to sit through the first part of the reading and to stand at the point when the procession arrives at Golgotha. The point to bear in mind is that the intention of those who compiled the liturgy is that we should listen to the full account of the events at one time.

There are many players in the story, and we would be unable to keep track of all of them, so what I am asking you to do today is to keep your eyes on the disciples of Jesus and reflect on the part they played in the story. Remember that we too have been called to be disciples, and there are important lessons for us to learn from the experience of those first disciples as we face our Gethsemane and our Calvary in our time. My initial response is this, “Lord, have mercy on us.”