Sunday, April 14, 2019

“If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus' fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.”

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.” ― Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

Gospel Text: (LK 19:28-40)
Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, "Go into the village opposite you,
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
And if anyone should ask you,
'Why are you untying it?'
you will answer,
'The Master has need of it.'"
So those who had been sent went off
and found everything just as he had told them.
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them,
"Why are you untying this colt?"
They answered,
"The Master has need of it."
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt,
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
"Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest."
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
"Teacher, rebuke your disciples."
He said in reply,
"I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!"

Tradition has it that some of the same people were likely in the crowd a few days later yelling “Crucify him!” to Pontius Pilate. We often feel holier than thou and wonder how they could have possibly been so fickle, so easily swayed, so rootless in their spiritual depth. But we also know how we turn our backs to the good and the righteous when we don’t have all the facts, and even sometimes when we do.

The lesson for me in the days leading up to and including Palm Sunday will be to linger a little longer amid the palm-wavers. To feel their excitement, their enthusiasm for Jesus and his message. To reflect on his miraculous works and his soul-deep love. And to pray that the reality of the joy that comes from worshipping him will sustain me through the dark times until Easter’s rising, and each time I see the palms tucked beneath the cross in my living room.

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