The Procession Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
When they were near Jerusalem and had come in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘
Go to the village facing you, and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back directly”.’
This took place to fulfil the prophecy:
‘Say to the daughter of Zion: Look, your king comes to you; he is humble, he rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’
So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting:
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!’
And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. ‘Who is this?‘
people asked, and the crowds answered, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee’.
The Gospel of the Lord Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr Donal Neary, S.J
Gospel Reflections for the Year of Matthew
He has endured the cross
Our gospel today is long; it is the first of two readings of the passion and death of Jesus; we hear many sayings and notice events that are familiar to us and to all Christians. Maybe during the week we could take time to reread the gospel account, and watch what happens, going a bit behind the externals.
We will see Jesus being mocked, tortured, hurt, ridiculed, beaten and killed. We notice his fear in the garden of his agony, and also his willingness to go to the end for what he believes in and sees as his mission in life. We see him being treated unjustly, and a notorious thief being chosen over him for release. We see him on the cross, when he seems to feel neglected by his Father.
We notice also the help he received - the silent sympathy and love of his mother, Simon's help carrying the cross, the sympathy of the 'daughters of Jerusalem', and even the faith of the Roman who said he was a good man, a 'son of God'. We wonder about how he felt with the mockery and with the help he received.
We can identify with much of his suffering, in our own lives and the lives of people close to us. He is the one who 'has endured the cross and despised its shame' (Hebrews).
We can often take comfort and consolation from the fact that he identifies with the suffering of the human race, and that his resurrection is the basis of our faith, hope and love.
Look at or imagine a crucifix, and pray as you feel drawn.
Lord, by your cross and resurrection,
you have set us free;
you are the Saviour of the world.