Palm Sunday Year C - 10/4/2022 - Gospel: Lk 23: 1-49
The Last Visit
Jesus had prophesised three times about his coming death. This was a devastating news for His apostles to grasp. They failed to understand that His departure was essential, since it was through His death and resurrection, that He gained salvation for the whole world. Without death, Jesus would not complete His earthly mission. The apostles continued to cling to the hope that

'This must not happen to you. Mt 16,22'.

They were now facing the awful reality, because the Pharisees and Scribe had publicly ordered that,

'everyone who knew where he was must inform them so that they could arrest him' Jn 11: 57.

Hearing the death of His friend, Lazarus, Jesus told His apostles to go to Jerusalem. One of His apostles protested, saying:

'Let us go too, and die with Him' Jn 11:16.

It was not the apostles, but Jesus himself decided on the course of action. He knew that a horrible death was waiting ahead of Him, but that would not deter Him from entering Jerusalem. He knew His hour was coming, and was certain of it. He would not run away from it, but would fulfil what the Father had expected of Him- to redeem the world. Jesus would hope to have neither a quick nor less painful death, but He hoped people could appreciate His sacrificial love He had for them.

On His way to Jerusalem, people welcomed Him like they welcomed their king. Public opinion is guided by propaganda, changing from giving support to withdrawing it. The people at Jerusalem today welcomed Jesus; tomorrow they would demand for Him to be crucified. This is the second twist of His Passion. The first one happened when Jesus gave life back to his friend Lazarus, who had been dead, and was buried three days in the tomb. Jesus raised him up from the grave, but He Himself would choose to go to His own death. This made His opponents mock Him saying,

'He saved others, he can't save himself'. Mt 27,42.

Jesus rode on a donkey covered with garments over its back. The crowds shouted on top of their voice:

'Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!' Lk 19,38.

The Pharisees tried hard to interrupt this joyful celebration but Jesus told them: 'I tell you, if these keep silence the stones will cry out' Lk 19,40.

The singing and chanting on the road had soon vanished. What follows was the arrest and the unjust trial. His crucifixion brought joy and satisfaction to those who hated Him, but bled the hearts of those who loved Him. The sting of sin was manifested through human's brutality. The Pharisees would inflict the greatest pain upon Jesus. The physical brutality included stripping to humiliate, and then beating and whipping and crowing, and finally nailing Him on the cross, between the two criminals. The Pharisees judged, that Jesus was a criminal and should deserve to die as a criminal. The psychological form of punishment began with false accusations, giving fake witnesses, and the abandonment. His apostles deserted Him because they were frightened. After the physical and mental torture, the verdict given - the capital punishment by nailing on the cross. To intensify the horror, the Pharisee didn't judge Jesus at day time; they judged Him at night, under dim light. Added to the fear was the chilling cold breeze of winter, the flicking lights of burning charcoals nearby, and the actions of soldiers, all blended together to create an atmosphere as if it was not just humankind who punished Jesus, but even the nature also took part in it.

The weight of the cross on His shoulders seemed to be heavier as He walked up the hill; every move, the open wounds seemed to crack a bit wider and deeper. Jesus could take them all in. His resilience during the wilderness experience had toughened Him. He chose to be faithful to the Father till the end.

'Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing'. Lk 23,34.

This statement asserts that God's love for humankind is stronger than human brutality.