“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. – St Paul (Letter to the Philippians)
Scripture Text: (MK 11:1-10)
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:
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!”
When artists talk about contrast, they’re referring to the arrangement of opposite elements—light versus dark, small versus large, rough versus smooth. It’s a technique they use to add a dramatic effect to their work. If we thought of God as an artist, we would definitely say that Palm Sunday is a study in contrasts. God created the universe out of nothing, fashioned the stars and planets, sustains every living thing, and knows every hair on our heads. Yet this same awesome, all-powerful God chose to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. You can’t have a more dramatic contrast than that.
Keep this in mind during Mass today. During the Holy, Holy, remember the citizens of Jerusalem who spread out their cloaks and waved palm branches at Jesus. Like you, they called out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” But just a few days later, they joined the Sanhedrin in calling out, “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:14). And through it all, through all the contrasts and ups and downs that he faced, Jesus continued to love. He continued to forgive. He never forgot his mission to save us all.