Dichotomy

palm cross square

Today is Palm Sunday.  It is during the celebration of Mass on Palm Sunday at which two gospels are proclaimed. They seemingly could not be more different. The first of these chronicles the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The second is a passion narrative that ends with the death of Jesus on the cross.  They appear to present a dichotomy.  Why then do we read both on the same Sunday?  Perhaps the quotes below will help.

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” – William Penn

“Palm Sunday tells us that … it is the cross that is the true tree of life.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Both the entry into Jerusalem and the way of the cross were processions.  The first resulted in Jesus being showered with adulation and hailed as the King of the Jews, presumably so that he would militarily lead Israel to a defeat of the Romans.  The second resulted in agony, humiliation, suffering and ultimately death.  In doing so, Jesus took upon himself the penalty of our sins and defeated death.

Which procession do you think Jesus feared more?

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One Response to Dichotomy

  1. Lee Surkin says:

    The two gospels are a collision of hope and fear. The collision of hope and fear was inevitable. The Cross, then, stands as a warning to us. Now we know what might well happen when hope and fear meet. Two thousand years of Christian martyrs, witnesses of God’s love and hope, bear testimony to the reality of this warning.But the Cross is also a promise!
    The Cross is a warning. But the Cross is also a promise. We know that the whole Passion story shows that God’s love for us is boundless. The whole Passion story shows that hope and love can defeat fear. Yes, the Cross is a warning, but we have God’s promise!

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