Palm/Passion Sunday 2021 -Mark 11:1-11
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After a year of Covid affects like sickness, death, fear and isolation, we are now finally glimpsing hope as we see the vaccines roll out and the daily death tolls drop. So, we may hear people saying ‘finally there is light at the end of the tunnel”. Then, what we hear also is “I can’t bear any more.” “I can’t bear another Covid.” On the one hand, the light at the end of the tunnel revives and renews us. On the other hand, it shows us just how depressing, bleak, dark, the tunnel has been. In other words, we feel both like celebrating and the weight of how painful it was.
You know what I’m going to say. Today, we begin a journey, Holy Week, that holds the fullness of the human story within it. Also, in today’s reading, the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, there are highs and lows, hopes and fears.
Let’s see the story. Jesus asked disciples to borrow a donkey for his journey into the holy city. And as you know, there were two processions. Jesus was not the only Triumphal entry. Every year during Passover, the Jewish festival that had people from 50,000 to at least 200,000, Roman governor of Judea also would ride up to Jerusalem from his residence in the west. His entry was meant to remind the Jewish pilgrims of their complete loyalty, obedience, and
submission. For the Jewish people it could be a time to commemorate their ancient victory against Egypt and slavery if they wanted to, but they couldn’t. In fact, Passover has some of the strongest connections to revolution. It’s center is on the delivery of the people from slavery and it is one of the most important festivals. Since it is all about liberation, the big crowds would have made Rome nervous because Rome was a kind of new Egypt, the new Babylon, the new worldly power oppressing the people of Israel. So, Rome was concerned enough during this holiday of liberation that they would send three times the regular amount of military to the city in order to handle any troubles that may happen. And the military general, here Pontius Pilate, went to the city to keep the peace that they wanted.