Palm Sunday Year B - 28/3/2021 - Gospel: Mk 15: 1-39
Hosanna was the sound of joy. People praised Jesus at His entrance into the Holy City, Jerusalem. They covered the donkey with their garments for Jesus to ride on. People on the road sides shouted on the tops of their voices to cheer Jesus. They extolled Him, and made Him feel welcome. They put green leaves on His way, and used green branches to show their joyfulness. The happy shout of the crowds was short lived. It reflected that the glory of this world didn't last long. Soon after the joyous entrance, the drama slowly unfolded, step by step. Jesus' entry to the Holy City, Jerusalem took only a couple of hours; and yet His Passion took days.

The betrayal happened within the circle of trusted friends, and that was rather hard to swallow. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, made a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus, his Master. The arrangement was agreed, that Judas would hand over his Master to the chief priests, and they would hand over to him a sum of money, thirty silver coins. The chief priests then co-operated with the Jewish authority to eliminate Jesus. Jesus' fate had already been decided by the chief priests. Court proceedings were done in a hurry to avoid any public queries about the legality of the case.

What led Judas to act as he did remains a mystery. Judas probably loved Jesus, but did he love money more?. We don't know, but we are certain, Jesus loved Judas. Enemies would not sit at the same table to share bread and wine. Jesus shared the meal with Judas to say Jesus continued to see Judas as one of His apostles. The Passover meal was set, and the twelve were with Jesus. Apart from Jesus, none of the others knew about Judas' hidden scheme. Jesus took the bread in His hands, said the blessing. He broke it, and handed it over to His disciples. Judas ate the bread. After eating the bread Judas disappeared into the dark.
Some thought Judas went out to buy what was needed for the celebration, because he was the bursar of the group. They were all wrong. Judas didn't buy. He sold. He sold the love, the trust his Master had for him. He sold the unity, and the fraternity of the group.

After Judas had gone, Jesus and other apostles continued to celebrate. After the meal they followed Jesus to the garden. Tiredness made them fall asleep; Jesus was praying alone. Jesus called the apostles to wake up to face the reality. Earlier, Jesus told the apostles, that one of them was going to betray Him. They took it in turn to deny it. Judas told Jesus 'Not I, Rabbi, surely'. Jesus knew Judas was lying.

Once Judas promised to betray Jesus, the chief priests would not allow him to change his mind. It was a bit late for Judas to do anything. Things were out of his control. Judas arrived, hugged, and kissed Jesus. With a gentle gesture and friendly voice, Jesus asked, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'Lk 22,. It looked like, Jesus gave Judas the golden opportunity to change his heart. He refused to seek help from Jesus, and from the other apostles.

Judas received the sum, and he was happy, but his happiness soon waned. On the surface, Judas acted as if he were innocent; deep down he was incapable of facing his own demon. He believed his sin was unforgiveable. He had lost all hope in God's love. He was wrong. Taking one's own life solved no problem, but rather created more serious problems.

After Jesus' crucifixion, Jesus' opponents celebrated their victory, their triumph lasted for just three days. They were terrified to hear the news, that Jesus had risen from the dead. Indeed, Jesus died at the hands of men. Even now, many fail to understand, that Jesus chose the extreme form of death to show the reality of God's universal love for mankind.