Sunday, April 1, 2012

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

As I was waiting in Church this morning for the ceremonies of Palm Sunday to begin, I was thinking about the Jewish people long ago who welcomed Jesus as their King.  Laying palm or tree branches was a common custom in ancient times to show one's homage and honor.  “Hosanna to the Son of David, they cried and Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.....Hosanna in the highest, we cry today every time we attend Mass. Today we again enter Jerusalem with Christ. But behind the palm branches, the shouts of joy, the stage is set for the ignominious drama of His passion.  Another procession which will wend its way up the hill of Calvary.

What kind of people could one day proclaim shouts of joy and hail Jesus as King and a few days later, desert Him, jeer at Him, and clamor for His death?  Am I one of those?  As the Reading of the Passion was begun, I was profoundly struck by Peter's protest, even though I must die with you, I will not deny you. Do I have that commitment to Christ?  Earlier in our gospel readings, Peter had protested when Our Lord tried to warn the apostles of His coming death, No,Lord, that can never come to pass! But the meaning of Christ's words where hidden from Peter then.  He, like the others, did not understand the necessity of Christ's passion.  We too, often find it impossible to understand the the reasons for our own interior, personal, or public “Calvaries” which we must undergo.  God often uses our whole existence in an endeavor to make us understand the necessity of suffering.

As we walk through this Holy Week, let us do so with Peter, who in his own old age, when he understood all, would be delivered to the same cross and suffer the same death as His Lord, having found His strength in Christ.  Let us allow the mercy and love of Christ poured out in His passion to be our reason to continue our Hosanna's and proclamation of Christ as our King.

Palm Sunday in Rome, 2009

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