Sunday, April 11, 2004
He is Risen!  

The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing: it is marvelous in our eyes.Psalm 118:22

The Psalm for today's Easter Mass is intimately connected with the Passover and Jesus' Passion and Resurrection. As Scott Hahn points out in his commentary on the Gospel of Mark, Psalm 118 was sung by the pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. In St. Mark's account of Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (11:1-10), there are references to Psalm 118. First, the "leafy branches which they cut from the fields" (8) alludes to the Psalm 118:27 where the psalmist writes, "bind the festal procession with branches." Next, the cry of "Hosanna!" (9), references the cry of "Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord" of Psalm 118:25. Finally, the crowd's cry of "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (9) is a direct quote from Psalm 118:26. St. Mark uses these to point out that Jesus is the Messiah who has come to Jerusalem at the Passover because Psalm 118 is a Messianic psalm. However, by referencing this Psalm in Jesus Triumphal Entry, St. Mark prepares us for the end of the week when Jesus will be rejected and crucified. The psalm notes that the leaders of Israel will reject the Messiah, but those who are able to see what the Lord is doing will marvel at God's mighty act of salvation (Psalm 118:22-23).

Twice, at a tree, man rejected God. First in the Garden of Eden, Adam disobeyed God's command and took of the tree from which the Lord had forbidden him to eat the fruit (Genesis 3:11). Then at Calvary, the Second Adam who had come to undo what the first Adam had done, was rejected on the tree of the cross.

In today's Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist refers to the stone which the builders rejected. Jesus had used this quotation to describe what the religious leaders of His day were doing--rejecting Him (Mark 12:10-11). He spoke this at the end of the parable of the wicked tenants who had killed the servants and son of the vineyard owner. Jesus identifies His listeners as those who have rejected Him because He is the Son of the vineyard owner. The vineyard is Israel, and the religious leaders are the wicked tenants. In other words, Jesus has come to Jerusalem and He has judged it as lacking in faith because the people do not recognize Him as the Messiah who was foretold in the prophets and the Messianic psalms. Jesus extends His condemnation of the lack of fruit from Israel by His cursing of the fig tree which is another symbol for Israel (Mark 11:12-14,20-22).

However, the first judgment falls upon Jesus Himself as He accepts the judgment for the sin of the world. On Good Friday, our Lord paid the ransom for our sins as He died on the Cross--the perfect, innocent sacrifice for our sins. Today, we celebrate the fruit of His mercy because death was not the end. These are the words of Psalm 118:16-17 which foretell Jesus' victory over death as the Messiah:

The right hand of the Lord is exalted, I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

Praise be Jesus Christ! He has risen, He has risen indeed!

Posted by David at 7:07 PM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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