Palm Sunday: Reflections on the Gospel

The Centre for Theology & Community l


‘What do you really want?’  That is the question the crowds face on Palm Sunday, and the disciples face as Jesus goes to the cross.  In what do they place their deepest hopes and trust?

The credit crunch poses these questions to us all.  Our society is reaping the harvest of a financial system which has spun out of control – a system which placed its trust in things and disregarded people.  The Palm Sunday and Easter readings speak to us of a God who breaks through the narrowness and greed of human hearts, not to judge and condemn but to offer ‘the life that really is life’ (1 Timothy 6.19) .  The prayer requests we have been blogging as part of Call to Change show the ways Christians in this country are responding to that invitation – seeking build a more generous, hospitable society in which all can experience a fuller, richer life. 

Today’s readings

The Gospels for Palm Sunday readings are Mark 11.1-11 (Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem) and Mark 15.1-39 (the Passion)

On Palm Sunday, the crowd think they see a king – perhaps a military leader who will end the rule of the Romans.  But Jesus doesn’t meet their expectations. What they want is not what he provides.  This reality takes some time to sink in.  And in the disappointment, the voices turn from ‘Hosanna!’ (in today’s first Gospel reading) to ‘Crucify him!’ (in the Gospel of the Passion).

The readings for Palm Sunday pose the same question to each of us: ‘What do you really want?’  What do we seek from Jesus?  And are we willing to allow him to challenge, and to disappoint our expectations?  As the disciples learn, Jesus gives us what we need – which is not always what we want.


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