< <  

Sunday, April 5, 2009

  > >

Passion (Palm) Sunday

Mark 11:1-10 (Entrance Processional)
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24

View Readings
Similar Reflections

the punch line

"Clearly this Man was the Son of God!" —Mark 15:39

Mark, in his Gospel, portrays Jesus as abandoned by all. The priests turn against Him (Mk 15:1-3). Soldiers mock Him (Mk 15:16-20). So do the thieves crucified on either side of Him (Mk 15:32). His disciples fall asleep while Jesus is praying in the garden, then they abandon Him and flee when He is arrested (Mk 14:37ff, 50). Judas even betrays Him while pretending to show affection for Jesus (Mk 14:45). Finally, after suffering hours of agony, Jesus quotes Psalm 22:2, possibly to confirm the sense of utter abandonment, and then dies.

At the foot of Jesus' cross stands the Roman centurion, a military man who commanded one hundred soldiers. He bore the responsibility of certifying to the Roman leadership that the crucified men in his charge were truly dead. The centurion had undoubtedly observed numerous crucifixions, and was accustomed to observing the ignominious death of defeated enemies. Jesus' crucifixion likewise pointed to abject failure and abandonment. By human standards, we would expect the centurion to exclaim: "What a failure! What a fraud! He got what He deserved." Instead the centurion declared, "Clearly this Man was the Son of God!" (Mk 15:39)

The centurion's declaration is the "punch line" of Mark's Gospel. Get the point. Accept Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God. Then live in a manner worthy of one for whom God has died. Have a holy Holy Week.

Prayer:  "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28)

Promise:  "The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them." —Is 50:4

Praise:  "Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mk 11:9)

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.