Matthew 21.1-11.
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus orders his disciples to find him a donkey so he can ride into the city. Everybody gets really excited, thinking that the time of the kingdom has come, and it becomes a great procession. The crowds spread their cloaks and freshly cut palm branches on the road, and sing their songs of deliverance.

Isaiah 50.4-9a.
The prophet Isaiah is singing about God’s help in all the suffering, the physical abuse and the slander he has to endure because of his prophetic ministry. He has willingly listened to God, and now he knows that God will uphold him and vindicate him. Therefore he can face anything that comes his way.

Matthew 27.11-54.
Jesus is brought before Pilate. Despite finding no guilt in him and despite the warnings of his wife, Pilate gives in to the demand of the crowd that Jesus should be crucified. He has him flogged and mocked by his soldiers, and then Jesus is led away to Golgotha, where he is crucified, together with two bandits. From noon on a three hour darkness settles on the land, and after that Jesus cries out to God, asking him why he has been forsaken. Then he dies, and many strange things happen, so that even the Roman centurion is terrified and admits that ‘this man was God’s Son.’

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION, BASED ON THE READINGS:

- The song of the crowd is well-known to us, as it is part of our Eucharistic liturgies: ‘Blessed is he, who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Do you think, the next time you pray along, that you will be able to feel the same excitement and joy as is pictured in this passage?

- As listeners to God’s word we do not always have an easy ride. Can you think of a particular pain or grief that is part of your life because you want to be faithful to God? It may be helpful to tell him so, and to hold him to his promise that he will carry you through.
This story is so long and full of rich details. Really, you have to read it for yourself! What about taking some time every day this week to do so, and to absorb what is going on? It will deepen your awe about Jesus’ passion and enrich your Easter joy.
Scripture meditations