Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord B

At the Procession with Palms - Gospel (Mk 11:1-10 or Jn 12:12-16)

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
'Why are you doing this?' reply,
'The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.'"
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
"What are you doing, untying the colt?"
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
"Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!"

Reading 1: (Isa 50:4-7)

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Reading 2: (Phil 2:6-11)

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel: (Mk. 14:1 - 15:47)

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days' time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, "Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
"Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages
and the money given to the poor."
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, "Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,

carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me."
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
"Surely it is not I?"
He said to them,
"One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
"All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee."
Peter said to him,
"Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be."
Then Jesus said to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times."
But he vehemently replied,
"Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you."
And they all spoke similarly.
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
"Sit here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch."
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will."
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
"Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand."

Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
"The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely."
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
"Rabbi." And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
alleging, "We heard him say,
'I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.'"
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, "Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?"
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
"Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?"
Then Jesus answered, "I am;
and 'you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
"hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?"
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!"
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest's maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
"You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus."
But he denied it saying,
"I neither know nor understand what you are talking about."
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
"This man is one of them."
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
"Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean."
He began to curse and to swear,
"I do not know this man about whom you are talking."
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
"Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times."
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.
Or Mk 15:1-39
As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: The Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ

            People don’t like discipline, diet or exercise; but they have to do them if they want to be healthy and successful. The athletes shall not win medals if they don’t go through this process. Similarly in the spiritual life, people must go through a similar process; especially they must be tried by suffering and pain so that they can show their firm faith in God, as the author of the First Peter said: “so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:7). The virtuous is the one who has gone through a process of training, overcame all trials and sufferings, and became a perfect person.

            Today readings gave us different reasons for the Messiah’s sufferings. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah reported the suffering of God’s Suffering Servant in the third song. The purpose of his suffering was that he could console those who must go through the way of suffering. In the second reading, Jesus must go through the way of suffering to reach the summit of the glory in which “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” In the Gospel, St. Mark reported Jesus’ Passion. The purpose of his Passion are to take away people’s sins and to bring salvation to all.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Third Song of God’s Suffering Servant

1.1/ The Suffering Servant endured sufferings because he trusted in God: As a human being, everybody is afraid of sufferings. The reason why one wants to suffer because he firmly believes in the result he shall get after sufferings; for example, a medal for an athlete. The Suffering Servant wanted to suffer because he believed in God and shall liberate God’s people from sins. He confessed his faith in God: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.The Lord God is my help; therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”

1.2/ The Suffering Servant knew how to support those in suffering: An athlete received not only the medal after the competition, but also other rewards such as: a healthy body, a strong will, etc. The Suffering Servant received not only praise by the Father, but also compassion to support those in suffering. He stated: “The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear;and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”

2/ Reading II: Jesus must go through sufferings to achieve glory.

2.1/ Christ humbly suffered: St. Paul used Christ’s exemplar of suffering to teach the Philippians: “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”

            Jesus himself is God; but he humbled himself to put on a human body. The Greek can’t understand this action. While they were trying to escape their human body because they considered them as a prison to confine their soul; Jesus wanted to incarnate in a body to become like men. Moreover, Jesus has God’s absolute power to wipe out all sufferings; but he volunteered to go through the way of his Father: to die on the cross to redeem people.

2.2/ God greatly exalted Christ: Since none is humble, obedient, and suffered like Christ; as a result, none has such a glory like him. St. Paul described this glory as followed: “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

            Jesus also taught his disciples the way to be greatest: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Lk 22:25-26). St. Paul also encouraged his faithful: “provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:17b).

3/ Gospel: Jesus’ Passion according to St. Mark

           

3.1/ Preparation before the Passion: The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days' time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest Jesus by treachery and put him to death.They said, "Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

            Jewish Passover is April 14. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is lasted seven days after the Passover. Passover is one of the three Jewish main feasts. The law required all Jewish males who are twelve years old and up and live within 15 miles of Jerusalem, must go up to the temple to celebrate the Passover. The law of Sabbath is also applied to the three feasts.

            The high priests and the scribes had a reason to worry because so many people were gathered at Jerusalem on the Passover. They used to ask the Roman armies for protection on these days, especially at Antonia Fortress, next to the temple. According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, people went up to Jerusalem can be up from two to three millions; and every ten people will slaughter a sheep. The Passover had a history in the Exodus event of the Israelites from Egypt. On the night of the first Passover, God’s angels came to all the Egyptians’ houses to kill their firstborns; but the house which had the lamb’s blood on the doorpost, the angels passed by and didn’t come in to kill.  

            In God’s plan of salvation, He wanted to use the Jewish Passover to begin a New Passover which was the day that Jesus left this world to come back to Him. It was the day which all of God’s people were saved from the slavery of sins and death by the blood of the Lamb which Jesus Christ has been poured out to redeem people, and to bring them back to God.

            (1) The anointing of Jesus’ body and Judas Iscarioth’s betrayal:

            - “When Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.”

            Bethany was a small village where Jesus used to come to visit Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It was here that Jesus raised Lazarus from death after three days in the tomb. This village located on the hillside, facing the temple Jerusalem. The visitors who went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, could legally dwell here to celebrate the feast.

            Who was the woman that showed the depth of her love to Jesus? Some said it was Mary, Martha’s sister, who sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him, when Jesus had visited and had a meal with them last time when he was in Jerusalem. According to Jewish custom, the host only washes the guest’s feet and pours out few drops of perfume on the guest’s head; but this woman seemed to know what shall happen to Jesus, broke the flask full of perfume to pour over his head.

            - Other guests’ reaction: “There were some who were indignant. "Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages and the money given to the poor." They were infuriated with her.”

            Bethany was also called in Hebrew “the house of the poor, beth aôni.” This might be the reason why they infuriated with her because three hundred days' wages was a large amount of money which was corresponding with three hundred days of working.

            - Jesus’ reaction: Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

            Jesus clearly knew the woman’s intention: she anointed his body in advance. There is time when the lover must be generous to show the love and the care for the loved one; not to always counting the cost. What Jesus foretold has been fulfilled. This woman who showed the depth of her love to Jesus became a historical figure; every year she is publicly remembered.

            - In oppositing with the woman’s true and uncalculated love was the Judas Iscarioth’s calculated love and betrayal. St. Mark described his action as followed: “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.”

            St. Matthew clearly said that Judas sold Jesus, his master, for 30 dennarii (cf. Mt 16:15). St. John said Judas was the treasurer of the Twelve, and often used the common fund for his own expenses (Jn 12:6). We should learn a lesson here. The greed for money can lead people to unfaithful; it can make people to turn their back to the truth, love and justice. The woman, out of love, spent three hundreds dennarii for Jesus; while Judas, out of greed, sold his master for only thirty dennarii.

            Some people stipulated that Judas acted as such was to force Jesus to act as a powerful Messiah which the Jews were expecting; but when Judas found out the truth – Jesus accepted sufferings and death – it was too late! He returned money for the chief priests and the scribes, and went out to hang himself (Mt 27:3-5).

            (2) Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples: On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

            - Jesus always prepared for everything, he didn’t wait until the last minute. Like the time when he needed to have a donkey to solemny enter Jerusalem, Jesus also prepared to have a room to celebrate the Passover with his disciples. He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there."The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

            - Jesus celebrated the Passover and the prophecy of the betrayal: “When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me."

            - Jesus’ action: He was very courageous and confident in God’s plan. Jesus could point out it was Judas, the betrayer; and he shall not escape other apostles’ hands, Jesus shall escape his plan. But Jesus chose not to accuse Judas; he gave him an opportunity to repent; but Judas had freedom to act and chose to be indifferent to Jesus’ warning: “For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

            - The apostles’ reactions: They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, "Surely it is not I?"He said to them, "One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.”The apostles didn’t know who was the betrayer in St. Mark’s account. They might know of their weakness and took their turn to ask Jesus that “Surely it is not I?”

            (3) Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, the New Passover: “While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

            - It was in the background of the Jewish Passover that Jesus wanted his apostles to understand what shall happen in the New Passover. The prophets of the Old Testament must sometimes use symbols and actions to convey God’s messages when people got so used to their words that they no longer understood the prophets’ words. For examples, the prophet Ahijah tore a garment into twelve pieces and gave ten pieces to Jeroboam which represent the ten tribes of Israel that God gave to him to govern (cf. 1 Kgs 11:29-32); or the prophet Jeremiah obeyed God and made thongs and yoke-bars, and put them on his neck to show people that if they didn’t listen to God, such things shall happen to them (Jer 27:2). Jesus used two symbols of the Jewish Passover to make his apostles to understand what shall happen in the New Passover.

            * First, as a loaf of bread is broken to distribute for many to eat, Jesus’ body shall also be broken for his apostles and people; as the thanksgiving chalice (the third cup of the Passover) is offered to those who participate, Jesus’ blood shall also be poured out for people so that their sins may be forgiven.

            * Secondly, the Old Covanant was the Sinai covenant (Exo 24:3-8). According to this covenant, God shall care for and protect the Israelites if they keep His law. Since the Israelites didn’t keep His law, God shall make a New Covenant with His people. According to this New Covenant, Jesus’ blood must be poured out to redeem people’s sins. They no longer depend on keeping of the law to receive God’s blessing and protection, but completely depending on His love, based on Jesus’ blood which is going to pour out for them.

            - When saying these words, Jesus wanted to confirm two things: First, he knew he is going to die; but also God’s kingdom is coming. He must carry the cross but the glory shall come after that. Secondly, God’s and his love for people shall overcome all people’s sins.

            (4) Jesus foretold the betrayals of all apostles: Then, Jesus said to them, "All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed.'But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee."

            - Jesus knew in advance and well prepared for his apostles so that they could handle his Passion through teaching, transfiguring and warning; but what need to happen shall happen, all of them shall betray him. Jesus firmly believed that his apostles shall recognize the truth after their betrayal and come to Galilee to see him there.

            - Peter over-estimated his strength and said to Jesus: "Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” And Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times."But he vehemently replied, "Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you."

            - All apostles spoke similarly. God is the only One who knows what shall happen to men; people don’t know for certain what shall happen to them. Therefore, we must believe in God’s than human word.

            (5) Jesus intensely prayed in Ghetsemane garden: Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed.Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch."

            - Before the Passion, Jesus wanted to have an intimate relationship with his Father and apostles, but he didn’t get from any of them. The Father seemed to leave him alone; the apostle’s presence is meaningless. Go back and forth in the garden, Jesus was extremely lonely, he felt all of his loved ones forshook him.

            - Jesus prayed the first time: He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him.He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will." Jesus, in his human nature, was afraid of what shall happen to him. He prayed to his Father to take away the painful chalice; even so, he obeyed his Father’s than his will. In the darkest moments of our life, people may have Jesus’ experience in the garden: God also seems to absence. In such moments, people need to completely trust in God.

            Jesus came back to look for his apostles’ encouragement. When he returned, he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?" People promised many things, but when Jesus was in need, there was none to console him. Before his painful Passion, the apostles still slept. They couldn’t share even an hour to wake up with him. Jesus warned them an important lesson in life though they didn’t hear him: “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” People are easy to fall into temptation when they aren’t prepare for; therefore, people need to be prepared all the time.

            - Jesus prayed the second time: “Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him.”

            - Jesus prayed the third time: He returned a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand."

3.2/ Jesus’ Passion began: Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.

            (1) Judas’ kiss of betrayal: He knew where Jesus used to come to pray; and to differentiate between Jesus and other apostles, he gave them a sign: “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” Then, he came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him.At this point, they laid hands on him and arrested him. People used the kiss to show love for other; the Jews have a habit to kiss their master. In opposition, Judas used the symbol of love to betray his master. Judas thought that he could deceive Jesus as he had nothing to do with Jesus’ arrest. In St. Luke’s report, Jesus clearly revealed to Judas that he knew of his plan, when he said to him: “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:48).

            - “One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear.”In St. John’s account, this man was Peter (Jn 18:10). This reaction was fitted for Peter’s temperament; he was the only one who had courage to protect his master.

            - Jesus said to them in reply, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me?Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the scriptures may be fulfilled."

            - It happened as Jesus foretold: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Mt 26:31). At this point, all apostles left him and fled.They were afraid that if they stayed with Jesus, they shall be also arrested and killed.

            (2) The young man escaped: “Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him,but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.”

            Who was this young man? First, we need to take not that these two verses were reported only by St. Mark. This is the reason why many stipulated that this young man was John Mark, the author of the Gospel according to Mark, Peter’s disciple. Secondly, when these things happened to Jesus, he was still young. His house wasn’t too far from the place Jesus used to eat the Passover (cf. Acts 12:12). Some stipulated that when John Mark knew about Judas’ plan, he immediately put a linen cloth around his body and ran to the Ghetsemane to announce the news to Jesus and his apostles. Unfortunately to him, Judas and his people came before him. Thirdly, some thought he already presented with Jesus in the garden from the beginning. This was the reason why he witnessed and reported Jesus’ agony in the garden in details because all apostles were slept. Jesus had no opportunity to cite what happened to him in the garden; especially to Peter, Mark’s master.  

            Anyway, these two verses belonged to Mark. He wanted to report his witness when these things happened to Jesus. It might be out of humility, he didn’t want anyone to know of his name.

            (3) The first inquiry of the Sandhedrin: The Sandherin was considered as the supreme court of the Jews, they had the total of 71 peoples which included the high priests, the elders and the scribes. They only had their rights on the religious matters, and couldn’t execute death sentences. The Sandherin must organize their meetings at the Hewn Stone in the temple area. They broke many rules when they judged Jesus on that night. For examples, the law didn’t permit them to judge people at night; nor on the feast days, nor outside of the Hewn Stone. The witnesses must be inquired at different places and must be agreed with each other in details; each member of the Sandherin must give his opinion, starting with the youngest member. If it is a death sentence, there must be a night before the sentence is executed. The purpose is for all members to have an opportunity to carefully think over if the sentence is needed to temper with mercy. In a word, since they wanted to immediately get rid of Jesus, they judged him illegally.

            “The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none.Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.”

            - The sin of destroying the temple: Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging,"We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.'Even so their testimony did not agree.” This was a false witness because Jesus said to them that “If you destroy,” not that “I shall destroy” (cf. Jn 2:19). Moreover, Jesus didn’t imply the Jerusalem temple, but his body.

            - The sin of blasphemy: Again the high priest asked him and said to him, "Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?"Then Jesus answered, "I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"At that the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further need have we of witnesses?You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"

            The high priest gravely violated the law when he asked Jesus this question, because the law prohibits the Sandherin to ask the accused the question which is involved himself in it. The high priest knew that Jesus shall give the correct answer when he asked him about his relationship with God, because he couldn’t lie. Jesus wasn’t hesitated to give the answer that he is the Messiah because it is the truth; he also wanted to terminate the wicked game of the Sandherin. Through this answer, Jesus wanted to show them that he had courage to say the truth, even though the truth could lead him to death. If he refused to answer, they shall have no reason to condemn him. Moreover, he wanted to show them that whatever they did to him are temporal; they shall see his glorious victory after his Passion and Death.

            After hearing of the high priest’s condemnation, they all condemned him as deserving to die. Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!" And the guards greeted him with blows.

            (4) Peter went through a process of inquiry at the same time with Jesus’ inquiry: Peter followed Jesus from afar, and entered inside the high priest’s courtyard. He warmed himself at the fire with the high priest’s household members. Two inquiries of Jesus and Peter were happening at the same time. Jesus was publicly inquired in the high priest’s court while Peter was quietly inquired at the courtyard.

            - Peter’s first denial: While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's maids came along.Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, "You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus."But he denied it saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." So he went out into the outer court. Then the cock crowed. Even a woman of no important standing made Peter to deny his master.

            - Peter’s second denial: “The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them."Once again he denied it.”

            - Peter’s third denial: A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, "Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean."He began to curse and to swear, "I do not know this man about whom you are talking."And immediately a cock crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times." He broke down and wept.

            Though Peter denied Jesus three times, he was still more courageous that other apostles; they didn’t follow Jesus, even from afar. Not like Judas, Peter recognized his betrayal; and the crying in his heart helped him to begin his reconciliation and witness for Jesus.

            (5) Jesus before Pilate’s court: As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

                    As said above, the Sandherin had right only on religious matters and couldn’t execute a death sentence. Therefore, after they found a reason to condemn Jesus of blasphemy, they must find a political reason to condemn Jesus to death because they knew Pilate had no concern of religious accusation, as St. Luke mentioned. They found a political reason for Pilate to condemn Jesus to death: Jesus called himself “the king of the Jews.” By pronouncing himself of this title, Jesus opposed the Roman power and the emperor Caesar.

            - Jesus is the king of the Jews: Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so."Jesus’ answer was positive; he wanted to tell Pilate that he wasn’t a potitical king as the Jews accused him of; but a religious king. In St. John’a account, Jesus clearly stated that “his kingdom isn’t of this world” (Jn 18:36).

            - The Jews considered Jesus less than the robber, Barabba: “Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed.Pilate answered, "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"For he knew, it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over.”

            - They asked for Jesus to be crucified: “But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.Pilate again said to them in reply, "Then what (do you want) me to do with (the man you call) the king of the Jews?"They shouted again, "Crucify him."Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."”

            - Jesus was scourged: So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

            - Jesus was crowning with thorns: The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage.And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.”

            - They made Simon Cyrene to help Jesus to carry the cross: “They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”

            - “They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull).They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it.” Crucifixion is a painful and slow death, the victim is given “wine drugged with myrrh”as we take pain killer medicine so that he can endure the pain. Jesus refused to take it; he had strength to fight against it.

            (6) Jesus was crucified on the cross: “Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take.It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews."With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.”

            - They reviled and challenged Jesus: Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,save yourself by coming down from the cross."Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

             - Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, "He saved others; he cannot save himself.Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe."

            - Jesus’ agony on the cross: “At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah."One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."

            - Jesus exhaled the last breath: “Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.” The author of Hebrews commented on this event that from now on, people can come directly to God; there is nothing that separate them as in the Old Testament.

            - The centurion declared Jesus is the Son of God: When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" This is the pinnacle of St. Mark’s gospel. Up to this point, none confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. Unfortunately, this confession was from the centurion, a Gentile!

            - The women stood at the foot of the cross: “There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.”

            (7) Taking Jesus’ body from the cross and burying him in the tomb:

            - Joseph Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body: “When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath,Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member Pilate was surprise of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.”

            - Pilate was greatly surprised to hear that Jesus was dead: “Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died.And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” The reason for his surprise was that he somehow believed in Jesus’ power to overcome death.

            - Joseph buried Jesus in the tomb: “Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.”

            - “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.” These women shall come to the tomb early the next day.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Jesus suffered so that people can live.

            - Sufferings help us to be perfect and have compassion to those who suffer.

            - Through Jesus’ Passion, we recognized the true love of God and the people’s wickedness. 

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