Sister Margaret Meaney, OSB, reflects on Mark 11:1-10. Scripture readings for today:Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56
“Truth is beautiful and divine, no matter how humble its origin; it is the same in the musty boiler room as it is in the glorious stars of Heaven.” Michael Pupin, physicist
This is the reflection I wrote last year for Palm Sunday. We weren’t recording reflections at the time, so I was happy to have this opportunity to share it. I enjoyed writing the reflection and I hope you enjoy reading it.
“Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives” (Mk 11:1).
A translation of this scene: Jerusalem means ‘The Foundation of Peace.’ Bethphage means ‘House of Unripe Figs,’ or, as unripe figs are symbolically in the bible, ‘House of Sinful People.’ Bethany means ‘House of Answer’ or ‘House of Affliction.’
Mount of Olives has a symbolic meaning. Olives are representative of friendship, reconciliation, cleansing, healing, light, victory and peace, stability, and a righteous person. Olive trees in the Hebrew Scriptures are associated with guarding God’s holiness, a symbol of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. In the Book of Revelation olive trees stand before the Lord of the Earth.
Verse 11:1 could be read as “Jesus and his disciples drew near to The Foundation of Peace, to the House of Sinful People, and to the House of Affliction And Answer, at the Mount of Friendship, Reconciliation, Cleansing, Healing Light, Victory and Peace. The olive trees stood before the Lord of the Earth.”
After the colt was released to the disciples, “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” (Markk 11:7-8)
There is symbolism here as well. The cloak represented protection, truly and symbolically. The cloak was also considered an inalienable right. For the crowd to take off their cloaks and strew them across the path was not only an act of Royal Homage, but a metaphor denoting transparence. Removing their cloaks revealed their tunics and the biblical symbolism of the tunic represents truth. Leafy branches are symbolic of King and Heir, Servant of God and Humans. Fields represent the doctrine of faith.
The verses could be read as, “They brought the colt and put their protection under Jesus and on the path to The Foundation of Peace. They wore truth as their garb. Some strew the acknowledgement they had taken from the fields of faith, that of Jesus being King and Heir, Servant of God and Humans.”
“Those who went before and those who followed cried out ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!’” (Mark 11:9-10).
This is interesting as well for ‘hosanna’ the word of praise, is taken from the word ‘hoshana’ ‘to save, rescue or ‘savior’ from Psalm 118:25- ‘save us we beg you, O Lord!’
Markk 11:10 could be read, ‘Save us!! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
This week we commemorate this procession past the Garden of Gethsemane, where will begin the end of Jesus’ un-resurrected life on this planet.
Gethsemane, The Olive Press was well placed.