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March 22, 1991     The Message
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March 22, 1991

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March 22, 1991 Commentary II  Mass Readings The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jest,,,00 enters Jerusalem: the coming of the kingdom 5 Gospel Commentary for Sunday, March 24, 1991 Cycle B -- Sixth Sunday of Lent: Passion Sunday: Mark 11:1-10 On the last Sunday of Lent, Passion Sunday, there is a gospel reading for the procession and one within the Mass, which this year will be the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark. The processional gospel recalls the trium- phal ride of Jesus toward Jerusalem only a few days before his death. It is this brief gospel reading that is our concern here. The ride of Jesus toward Jerusalem for his final Passover is recorded in all four gospels. Mark may be the oldest account or story. Matthew and Luke use Mark as their source and change it to express their own points of view. John has the same basic story but in a different context and with different emphasis. John, by the way, is the only one who mentions anything about palm branches. Mark takes his branches from the fields, Matthew from the trees, and Luke doesn't use any. The story goes as follows. Jesus had just healed a blind beggar. That story was placed right before the triumphal ride. By locating it at this point Mark stresses the ongoing misunderstanding of Jesus by the disciples. They are still blind while the blind man sees through his faith in Jesus. This happens outside Jericho en route to Jerusalem from the east. Before them lies the Mount of Olives. Jesus and his disciples start the ascent of this low mountain. They pass through the towns of Bethphage and Bethany., Jesus sends two of them into a town to pick up a tethered colt on which no one has ever sat." Mark is using a text of the "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" Miller & Miller 424-9274 prophet Zechariah as background. Zechariah speaks of a king who comes to Jerusalem, "riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass." The Greek text of Zechariah speaks of a "young" or "new" colt. This may seem strange because it would place Jesus on an unbroken colt, hardly appropriate for a ride in a procession. But Mark has in mind the Old Testament usage that something used for divine service must be new or unused. Jesus has given explicit directions to the two disciples on how and where to find the colt. It turned out exactly as Jesus had said, Mark's way of ointing to the preternatural or prophetic nowledge of Jesus. What he says will happen, will happen. Later in the Passion, Mark will demonstrate that Jesus is a true prophet while he is being mocked as a false prophet. It is at the very time of being mocked as a false prophet that Peter denies him, just as Jesus had foretold. Jesus sits on the colt. The people spread their robes on the road for him to ride over. Again the Old Testament. This is the way a king was honored at his acclamation as king. The scene reminds Mark's readers of the acclamation of Solomon, son of David, as king and successor to David. The scene is depicted in the First Book of Kings. Jesus is also known as "Son of David," and it is the acclamation of Solomon that serves as a model for the acclamation of Jesus. The crowd acclaims Jesus with "Hosanna? Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," a quote from Psalm 118. The word "Hosanna" is an ancient plea for help meaning, "Save, please." By the t!me of Jesus it seems to have lost its Washington Letter Continued from page 4 professor in the foreign service school led to a campus uproar and the professor's eventual public apology in the student newspaper. Another Georgetown student said he felt the "politically cor- rect" issue at his school relates original meaning and become an exclamation of joy and celebration. Then the crowd shouts: "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David thai is coming!" Matthew and Luke both omit this strange acclamation. Either they didn't know what Mark meant by it, or they disagreed with it. For Mark it probably expresses the idea that Jesus was to con- summate the kingdom of God quickly, that the day of judgment was at hand. Since Luke and Matthew wrote later they had to deal with the problem that the !'great day of the Lord" had not come, so they omitted this reference to it. As always, we have to wean ourselves from the idea that Mark intends to write a history. He is teaching theology. What does this story mean to Mark and his readers? In the context Jesus has ar- rived in Jerusalem for judgment. He checks out the temple then leaves for the night in Bethany. In the morning Jesus curses a fig tree that had no fruit, then invades the temple and drives out all the con- cessionaires. These are scenes of judgment. Mark is telling his readers that the triumph of Jesus and judgment of persecutors is near. But Mark speaks to us too. This gospel is placed in our liturgy at the beginning of Holy Week. It is also read before Mas, at which the gospel will be the story of the Passion. As we enter Holy Week the horror of Jesus' execution casts a shadow over celebration. The triumphal ride of Jesus looks beyond the story of the Passion, beyond Good Friday. It tastes of the joy of the resurrection. Other readings for Sunday, March 24, 1991: Isaiah 50:4-7: Philippians 2:0-11: Mark 14:1-15:47 Last year when a student ob- jected to the moral content of an AIDS awareness course which was mandatory for all freshmen, the student was reprimanded and sentencea by a student court to six hours of service work, said Patrick Kel- ly, a senior at Georgetown's whatever they want, as long as it's done within a framework of academic advancement." "Students of the University of Dayton enjoy the full expres- sion of their thoughts, positions and opinions on all contem- porary and intellectual issues while at the university," said a more to questions of Catholic foreign service school. The statement on freedom of expres- | morality than to strictly sanction was lifted only after sion adopted last December by | politicaltopics, the student appealed to the the university's top ad- '::::;: ........ : ...... ....  ........ - university president, Kelly ministrators. "The university .... I "- - SIN sss .... ] said .... recognizes that at times such |  SchulTI . Rohrer, who also holds a post expression may be controver- i . . , 4 in the University of Dayton's sial and may provoke criticism Monuments, Inc.. student ver |  I go nment, said the from the academic, c!vic and DALE INDIANA " "',';i." |  .  university s approach to the religious communities. ' | L 937-4921 ] problem ,has been to back Rohrer said he thinks the goal i' ::::::;:" n "- ' '  ' :  students rights "to say of the 'politically correct" -'. :::L i  I ' ,, i movement is to help where i:ii .,,Ed L. Lee  people have misconceptions' ./ or ethnic group. 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