Passion Sunday: the sheep scatter

Jesus arrestedJesus Predicts Desertion and Promises Reunion (26:30b-35) The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

One of the curious “tests” that some scholars apply to a passage regarding “authenticity” (by which they really mean historicity) is “would it embarrass the early church?” If it would, then it must be so “authentic” and compelling that the sacred writer includes it even though it is embarrassing. Jesus’ prediction that all the disciples would abandon him in his hour does not reflect well on the future leaders of the nascent Christian movement.

The NSRV says “You will all become deserters [skandallisthēsesthe]…” – and though it more literally means to “fall away” “be caused to stumble” – there is something scandalous that will shake their faith to the very core. This the word that Matthew uses to describe the hometown folk, the Pharisees, and those who profess belief in Jesus but who stumble when the world or persecution arises on account of Jesus’ word (13:21). Continue reading

Passion Sunday: A last meal

Altar-1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Jesus Inaugurates the Eucharist (26:26-30a) As Joachim Jeremias and other scholars have shown in looking at all the received Eucharistic traditions (Paul in 1 Corinthians and the synoptic gospel writers), Jesus follows the form and outline of the Passover Seder. The thanksgiving over the bread and the cup recorded in vv. 26 and 27 will therefore be a regular part of the main section of the Passover meal (making this the third of the four cups of the Passover), and we may reasonably assume that Jesus used the traditional words of thanksgiving. But it worthwhile to point out that said the blessing refers to blessing God, not blessing the bread. Continue reading