Prepare for Sunday Mass: On Palm Sunday, what do you focus on?

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

When hearing a passage as dramatic as today’s Gospel, what do you focus on? The answers depend on several factors, some of which are unique to each reader. The beauty of sacred Scripture is that it reveals greater depths and poses new challenges every time we hear it with faith and humility.

Mass Readings
Read more about the Sunday readings in OSV Newsweekly.

Re-reading today’s Gospel, I was drawn to certain questions asked by three people: Judas as he betrays; Jesus as he prays; Pilate as he strategizes; and Jesus again as he gives up his spirit on the cross. These four questions are simple and surprising; the answers are both direct and confounding.

“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” Judas finally realized he could not shape Jesus into his own image, and so he decided he would rather do away with Jesus altogether. And, really, what other options are there? It brings to mind the quote by Pope Francis in his first papal homily: “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.” It is also true that those who refuse to walk with the Lord will walk with the devil. Judas, wrote St. John Chrysostom, “did the devil’s deed.” Anyone who tries to manipulate Christ only breaks himself on the rock of salvation, having refused that very foundation of mercy (cf. Mt 27:3-10).

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @JenReyOSV.