Palm Sunday 2012

Today, wherever our Palm Sunday celebration takes place, we are in Roman Palestine two thousand years ago. One question we might ask ourselves is, where do we stand? Are we with the crowd following Jesus and singing hosannas; with the bystanders, looking on from a safe distance; or with those indoors, dismissing what is taking place as just another riotous assembly it is better to keep clear of? Our answer can tell us a great deal about ourselves and the way in which we see the unfolding of Holy Week.

Holy Week is quite brutal in the way in which it demands choice from us. If, during the rest of the year, we are rather unremarkable Christians, regular in our church-going and dutiful in giving to good causes, but keen to avoid drawing attention to ourselves and definitely not the stuff of which martyrs are made, this week reminds us that in following Christ we have made the most radical choice imaginable, one we must live to the end. We cannot simply bumble along the way; we must deliberately choose to follow wherever Christ leads.

Today we begin our following with rejoicing, but a rejoicing which already has a hint of menace. On Good Friday we shall see where that menace will take us. For now, we  focus on Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem where we know he will be rejected. Nevertheless, we stand with him every inch of the way. It is a choice we make every day of our lives, not just during Holy Week.

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5 thoughts on “Palm Sunday 2012”

  1. Have to admit, when I was a child, I focused on the donkey. I loved all things equine, still do. Yesterday, Sat. evening mass, I enjoyed the red vestments and the green palm fronds, the processing, in imitation of following Jesus. All this gives way quickly to what was about to unfold, and it reminds me of how Christians are persecuted blatantly in some countries, subtly in others, Canada included. This may be evidenced in school policies enforced by government, health plan coverage, or even snide remarks by non-believers. The other evening in a gathering, discussing the recent passing of a neighbour, someone declared we shouldn’t refer to him as having “passed on” as in her opinion, when you are dead, you’re dead, there is no where to “pass on to”. We are challenged to stand by and with Jesus, defending the faith and those in need. I don’t think it gets any easier even after these 2,000 years, but we keep trying.

  2. I got chills while reading this!

    On Palm Sunday I always find myself wondering what Jesus was thinking about as he rode through the streets, knowing what was about to happen to him. (which always makes me thank God for NOT giving us the ability to see into our own futures!)

    I suppose he was able to think past Friday and into Sunday again, though. Yet another thing that I am very, very thankful for.

  3. Good point, Bethany, one I’ve often wondered about. Years ago a priest hypothesized during a homily whether Jesus wasn’t the most surprised of all to find Himself resurrected! The priest thought perhaps He didn’t know what awaited him, because while being truly God He was also truly man so wouldn’t have had perfect knowledge of the future. I do believe Jesus had a good idea He’d be crucified, and maybe, like a neighbour of mine on her way to hospice, said of her impending death “I just hope this doesn’t take too long.”

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