A Palm Sunday reflection by Fr. Dave Warren, S.F.M. At the procession with palms: Gospel of Luke 19.28-40; First reading: Isaiah 50.4-7; Second Reading: Philippians 2.6-11; Gospel: Luke 22.14-23.56
Our celebration of Palm Sunday begins on a note of joy as we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem. The mood changes as we bury Jesus in the tomb. Something has gone wrong. The crowd welcomes Jesus into Jerusalem, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! (Mark 11: 9). A few days later, the crowd is shouting “Crucify Him!”
…We are the crowd. In this age of PR firms and spin doctors, we know only too well how easily the powers that be can manipulate us.
…We are the disciples. We are not prepared for the test when it comes.
…We are Peter. We overestimate our courage.
…We are Judas Iscariot. We sell our souls.
…We are Jesus, abandoned, betrayed, or denied by those whom we trust.
…We are the religious leaders who fail to recognize God when He doesn’t conform to our preconceived notions of how God should act.
…We are Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect (governor), who responds according to the notion, “My country, right or wrong.”
…We are Simon of Cyrene. We help because we have to.
…We are the Roman soldiers, just following orders and crucifying our better selves in the process.
…We are the acquaintances of Jesus who watch from a safe distance.
The Passion of Jesus is not someone else’s story. The passion of Jesus is our story. What are we to do in Holy Week? What does Jesus ask of us? Just this: to stay with Him. This year, let’s take a risk. Let’s stay a little closer to Jesus.