(The soldiers) brought (Jesus) to the place of Golgotha – which is translated Place of the Skull – They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him. At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Today’s celebration of Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem is popularly called Palm Sunday. Filipino Catholics bring to church and wave their “palaspas” or coconut fronds, the native version of palm branches that the crowd is said to have waved to acclaim Jesus. On closer reading of Mark’s account, however, we see that the people are spreading their cloaks on the road; others cut leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. There is no mention of palms nor of people waving them in acclamation. What liturgy and popular imagination have adopted is John’s version: A great crowd take palm branches and go out to meet Jesus (12:13).
Jesus is welcomed the way pagan kings and emperors were welcomed by a populace waiting for favors. Later, in Christian liturgy and art, the palm will become a symbol of martyrdom. A great multitude of martyrs stand before the Lamb – Jesus in glory – holding palm branches in their hands and crying out, “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb” (Rv 7:10). John’s account appears like a festive liturgy.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 8957328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.