We enter Holy Week – the Passion begins...
Reflections on the readings for the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (March 28, 2021): MK 11:1-10; IS 50:4-7; PS 22:8-9,17-18,19-20.23-24; PHIL 2:6-11; MK 14:1–15:47
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
"The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mark 14:7-9)
The long Gospel from St. Mark that we hear today contains the whole story of Christ’s Passion, ending with His death and burial. He is now in Jerusalem for the last time. It seems sadly fitting that first thing we hear is that the chief priests and scribes are getting closer to finding a way to arrest Jesus and have him put to death. But Mark pauses to tell a story about a woman whose desire to express her profound love for our Lord shocks those present. She enters the house where Jesus is dining and proceeds to break open an alabaster jar containing expensive perfumed oil and pours it on His head. Immediately, some people angrily rebuke her for wasting the money that could have been gotten by selling the oil and giving it to the poor. But Christ knows that they do not understand the real significance of that woman’s action. Only He sees the love in that woman’s heart – as well as foreseeing His own impending death. “The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have Me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing My body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:7-9). The very next thing we learn is that Judas Iscariot has decided to sell out Jesus to the chief priests. We do not know whether he is revealing his own dishonesty and greed or whatever his reason may be. But Judas has definitely turned away from the truth our Savior has taught him and the love He has shared with him during the years of His ministry.
At the Passover meal that Jesus eats with His Apostles, He announces that one of them will betray Him. The last time Judas is mentioned in Mark’s Gospel is when he guides an armed crowd to the Garden of Gethsemane. He identifies Jesus by calling Him “Rabbi” and kissing Him. The events for the arrest, trials, torture, and crucifixion of our Lord have been set in motion. Jesus is ready to sacrifice His life for us. The Passion begins.