Reflections: 25th March 2018

A Reflection for Palm Sunday

Mk 14:1 — 15:47(

The Messiah:  Son of Man?   Son of God?

Jesus enters Jerusalem sitting on a donkey, as the humble Messiah described in the prophet Zechariah, but the people acclaim him as the Son of David.

Now David was a warrior. Do the people understand what kind of Messiah Jesus is?

They really are lost in ambiguity. Jesus is more than a son of David.  He is the beloved Son of God (MK 1,11; 9,7; 15,39) who, in obedience to the untiring love of the Father, gives his life and fully embodies the figure of the "Servant" described in Isaiah 53.

The Passion narration provides a key to opening up this ambiguity.  The high priest asks Jesus if he is the Messiah, the Son of God.  Jesus answers: "Yes, I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting to the right of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven "(Mk 14:61).

The world asks if he is the Son of God and he answers that he is the Son of Man.  This Son of Man is a figure that comes from the prophecy of Daniel (7: 13-14). It is the heavenly envoy who crushes the four beasts that vie for dominion over the world.

He symbolizes the Kingdom of God, which overcomes the "fierce" kingdoms of this world and this envoy has a human face, the face of Jesus. So, in the Passion of Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God mean the same thing. Jesus is the beloved Son of God, who unites his will to that of the Father, for the gift of life, to overcome the beasts that dominate this world and to break their strength forever. When condemned by the high priest, he proclaims himself to bear the authority of the Son of Man.

When Jesus dies on the cross for the sake of justice and love, the Roman military representative exclaims: "This was indeed Son of God."

Both titles signify the endorsement that God gives to Jesus, and that is manifested in the glorious resurrection from the dead. 

Jesus is victorious by death for love in filial obedience (Son of God), but also by the judgment that defeats the power of this world (Son of Man).

[There are still “fierce beasts” out there and perhaps, within us.  Let Easter shine through us through our loving service in the imitation of Christ]

Seán Doyle C.S.Sp. – Fr. Seán has been a missionary in Brazil, since 1973.