The scene and events of Palm Sunday are familiar to us. Jesus comes into Jerusalem, riding a beast of burden, being hailed by those who surround Him. His triumphal entrance gives those who believe in Him a chance to shout His praises. It gives those who oppose Him another reason to become angry and afraid. What is also apparent in His triumphal entrance is how Jesus embraced His mission to stand before the powers of heaven and earth and to show how great is God’s glory.
Jesus embraces all that is possible. He says yes to all the ways His enemies could act out their anger. He says yes to all the ways that His disciples could turn their backs on Him. He embraces the power of love in the midst of such evil and betrayal. He is willing to shed everything so that all people believe God is more powerful than anything that hatred and evil can bring against us.
We proclaim the Passion of Jesus so it’s clear that this is the cost of love. One must be willing to die, especially for the unrighteous and the sinner, so that love’s full force can be experienced and have an effect. We listen and speak all the details of His suffering and death so that we can appreciate what He has done for us out of love and what we are called to do for others, especially the most ungrateful and the greatest of sinners.
What was it that allowed Jesus to embrace His mission so totally and completely? Can we be expected to live that same mission? Can we walk in His footsteps to endure evil in the name of God, who is love? Are we up to that mission and are we willing?
In this time of severe isolation and separation, we’ve been given an opportunity to answer some of those questions directly. Notice how you are reacting to the small and big ways that each of us is being asked to sacrifice for our own sake and for the sake of others. What has been your reaction? Have we embraced those challenges and sacrifices with love and care, especially for the sake of those most vulnerable? Have we bristled against anyone telling us what to do or where to eat? Are we acting in solidarity with people throughout the world or are we still trying to find someone to blame and an enemy to hate? Some of us who are homebound or limited in some way are experiencing even greater isolation and loneliness. Are we using that to bring us closer to the sufferings of Jesus or have we moved deeper into self-pity and hopelessness? What role is fear having in the decisions that we are making? Are we choosing, even in the midst of the present insecurity, to trust that God will be faithful to us and provide all that we need? Or have we hoarded and become greedy because we forgot how faithful God has always been to us?
Palm Sunday is the gateway into the walk of love that Jesus has called us to follow. Step by step and day by day, in prayer and community, we walk with Him and each other. You are not alone. He walks with each of us as we walk with Him.