For the Palm Sunday Gospel, we return to the Gospel according to Mark. The account of the Passion takes up nearly one-third of Mark’s entire Gospel and, of all the evangelists, he is the one who presents the details most graphically. He depicts the humanity of Jesus most intensely, describing his sufferings thoroughly. Mark portrays Jesus as a complete fulfillment of the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, the obedient, humble slave dying on a cross of whom Paul speaks in Philippians. But it is important to remember that we call this “Holy Week” and not “sad week” or “suffering week,” for each of the readings today, even the lamentations of the psalm, end in the promise of the strength and hope that is granted by God to those who faithfully give of themselves in love. As we enter into this week through these readings, we must reflect deeply on the sufferings of Jesus, but still be confident in the joy of risen, eternal life that awaits all of us who faithfully walk with him through these days.
Today’s first reading is an enormously important passage, not only in the history of the Jewish people, but also for us as disciples of Jesus, who see in it a foreshadowing of the Christian dispensation. The prophet announces that God has chosen to forgive the people, and that as a sign of divine forgiveness a new covenant will be established. Contrasting the new covenant with the one made with Moses on Mount Sinai, Jeremiah says that the new covenant will be written on the people’s hearts rather than on tablets of stone.READ MORE
Today’s reading from the second book of Chronicles contains a sort of “mini-history” of Israel. It highlights God’s mercies in choosing Cyrus the Persian to be an instrument of deliverance when the people were in captivity in Babylon. Despite their sinfulness and the deserved punishment they were undergoing, God’s mercy was lavished on the people in the form of a miraculous act of liberation.READ MORE
In previous weeks we have seen how the theme of covenant — as a preparation for the baptismal covenant celebrated at Easter — occupies an important place in our cycle of Lenten readings. The notion of covenant as a relationship between two parties carries with it an expectation of mutual accountability and fidelity to the terms of the covenant.READ MORE