Fr. René Butler MS - Palm Sunday - Two Gospels

Two Gospels

(Palm Sunday: Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14—27:66)

At the opening of today’s Liturgy, we hear the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Later, we hear the story of the Passion. 

There is one similarity. In both, Jesus sends disciples to perform a task (arrange transport, prepare the Passover), and they “did as Jesus had ordered.” (This may remind some readers of Maximin and Mélanie.)

The contrasts, however, are many. “Hosanna” yields to “Let him be crucified.” “This is Jesus the prophet,” announced by some in the festal crowd, becomes, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews,” the charge against him, placed over his head on the cross.

We might imagine certain differences that are not mentioned. For example, it seems likely that Jesus wept as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. By contrast, how do you visualize Jesus responding to the cheering crowd in his entry to Jerusalem? 

The Suffering Servant in our Isaiah text says, “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.” An encouraging, comforting word is seen even in the scene of the betrayal. In Matthew, Jesus calls Judas “friend,” offering him salvation even in his darkest moment of guilt.

At La Salette, the equivalent is “my people.” No matter how lost they are, Mary does not reject them. “Come closer, don’t be afraid,” is addressed first to the children, but by no means to them alone. 

The Beautiful Lady calls us to submission. Jesus is the very model of submission, silent before his accusers. In the Gospel, he is “forsaken” and, as St. Paul writes, “He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The same text says that Jesus received “the name which is above every name,” dear to Our Lady but, alas! not so dear to her people.

Matthew makes no mention of Mary in the Passion, but the thought of her suffering leads me to conclude with the words of the Memorare to Our Lady of La Salette: “Remember, Our Lady of La Salette, true Mother of Sorrows, the tears you shed for me on Calvary.”

La Salette Laity and Ministry Committee

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