Sunday Readings

Commentary to the Palm Sunday readings

Andrea Mardegan, priest, comments on the readings corresponding to the Solemnity of Palm Sunday

Andrea Mardegan-March 24, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

In the house of Simon the Pharisee, in Bethany, a woman breaks the alabaster jar filled with precious spikenard and pours the perfume on Jesus' head. To the criticism about the waste of money, Jesus responds with a unique praise: "Wherever the Gospel is preached, in the whole world, also what she has done will be counted in memory of her." Some anonymous men also comfort him: the disciples who are interested in where to prepare the Passover; the two that Jesus sends to the city; a man with an amphora of water; the owner of the house where he will go. Men friends in that tremendous hour. 

Between the woman and these men, Mark names Judas, who is going to betray him, and his motivation remains a mystery. Jesus reveals it to his own, at the Passover meal, before giving them his body and blood. The first Eucharist is between the prophecy of Judas' betrayal and that of Peter's denial. Heaven and earth mingle. The prayer of Gethsemane, "Abba, Father", is heard in the silence of the sleep of Peter, James and John, who are not able to keep vigil even for an hour to support Jesus, and continue to sleep even though he wakes them up and encourages them. Judas arrives at night with armed henchmen and, as is typical of traitors, shows affection to the betrayed, with a kiss. Capture, summary trial, witnesses who mix the true with the false, and the light of Jesus' statement to the question: "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?", "I am". They snatch his clothes, they condemn him to death. Spitting, blows, slaps. Peter is in the courtyard and a young female employee, the only negative female figure in the whole passion of Jesus, provokes him and he falls, and denies knowing him. Meanwhile, the cock crows. Peter's cry. 

Pilate knows it is out of envy, but he is unable to oppose the mob. He tries with the custom of freeing a prisoner during the Passover, but the crowd, soon to be freed by the cross of Christ, chooses Barabbas and condemns Jesus. The soldiers add scourges, crown of thorns, nails in his hands and feet, clothes divided by lot. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". A loud cry and Jesus dies. The veil of the temple is torn, it is no longer useful. The light of faith shines on the pagan centurion, first among all: "Truly this man was the Son of God." Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James the Less and Joseph, and Salome, along with many other women, watch from afar. Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for his body, they take it down from the cross and place it in a new sheet and in a tomb dug out of the rock. Jesus also goes through this human experience, and prepares to overcome it definitively.

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