Just a few days more and Passion Sunday is upon us. It is also known as “Palm Sunday” because it is the time we go to Church to re-enact the last entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. It was a triumphal entry marked by shouts of “Hosanna”, the clamor for liberation, the desire for another Judas Maccabeus expressed. In the gospel of John (cf. John 12), it is also the moment when the Lord becomes aware that his hour has come.
It is also called “Passion Sunday” because the Passion of the Lord is read during the Mass on that day. The reading is quite long and boredom will be avoided by a dramatization of the Passion according to Mark. In fact, the dramatization also helps the listeners realize that during the Passion, the Lord — the main actor — will not have a lot to say! He is after all the lamb that is led to slaughter and his virtual silence during the whole process of his trial and crucifixion is in contrast to the account of his ministry. Except for a few lines, he will be silent because it is during the Passion that love will speak in gesture, no more in words.
During the reading of the Gospel, the Lord will say only a few things:
- “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62). This is the response to the question whether he is the Christ, the Son of God. The reference to the Son of Man is from Daniel.
- “Eloi eloi, lema sabachtani” (Mark 15:34). It is a direct quotation of the first verse of Psalm 22, the evening prayer of the Jews. It is also the psalm that the evangelists associate with the Passion. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” also — in an ironic way — announces the vindication of Jesus on Easter Sunday.
Throughout the whole gospel reading on Sunday, these are the words that Jesus will say: a word of glory and a word of suffering. And both are tied together by the one mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.
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