Palm Sunday

SUNDAY APRIL 5: PALM SUNDAY Reflection Day 24 since the church was closed

As I write this today, it is Palm Sunday. The Mass I offered today included the 
Passion of Christ in the gospel. All four gospels contain insights into the passion 
and death of Christ. 
With Matthew’s gospel today, it begins with Judas making arrangements with the 
temple leaders to betray Jesus. The gospel then moves to the Last Supper. 
At the Last Supper, when Jesus tells the Apostles that someone is going to betray 
him, they are shocked and wonder who among themselves is the traitor. Peter 
signals to the disciple whom Jesus loved to ask Jesus whom he meant. Jesus 
replies it is the one whom he will give the bit of food and dip it in a dish. 
This was a special dish that contained a kind of salad made with chopped apples, 
nuts, almonds, and spices which was a reminder of the Israelite’s time in Egypt. 
To dip bread in this dish and give it to someone was act of profound love and 
friendship. This may be why the disciples did not immediately understand what 
was happening. But in retrospect, Jesus, by dipping the bread and showing 
friendship and forgiveness to his betrayer, was showing us how to love our 
The Gospel tells us that Satan entered into Judas and Jesus tells him, “be quick 
about what you are to do.” Jesus is not giving approval to Judas’s actions but 
rather emphasizes the free will given to all people. Judas exercises this free will 
and leaves. And then the Gospel simply says: “and it was night.” The darkness is 
a strong symbol John’s Gospel. 
Why did Judas betray Jesus? Some scripture scholars think that Judas never 
intended Jesus’ death. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah. But Judas also 
believed that the Messiah should rally his people and drive the Romans out of 
Palestine. But Jesus was not doing this. Judas hoped that handing Jesus over to 
the authorities would force him to act as a military leader. 
Judas wanted a Messiah ok. But he wanted the kind of Messiah he fashioned in 
his own mind. Again, Judas, a zealot, wanted Jesus to sort of rally the troops and 
be the kind of leader he wanted Jesus to be. 
This theory would explain why Judas took his life when things backfired. If the 
theory is correct, then Judas was guilty of trying to play God. He had his own 
ideas about what the Messiah should do. Inside those ideas of Judas, was the 
remaking of God’s will. Judas was fashioning God’s will into the will of Judas. 
Today, we are challenged to ask ourselves: do we at times try to play God? Do we 
try to take charge of God’s will for us in our life? Maybe our ideas in life are more 
different than God’s ideas for us. 
As we enter more deeply into Holy Week on this Palm Sunday let us be resolved 
to submit ourselves to God’s will. Seek to be the kind of person God calls us to----
and not simply work to be the person we want to be for ourselves. We can use 
this time during the “shelter in place” to rethink the question: whose will are we Following in our life?