Where Are You Standing this Holy Week?
On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a colt, not with spears hoisted against him, but with palm branches waving; not with soldiers accompanying him, but with crowds chanting “Hosanna to the Son of David.”
We are in the crowd. We shout to Jesus, “Blessed are you, who have come in your abundant mercy.” For many in the crowd it is a joyful day, a day of generous love. A few are puzzled, some fearful. What is going on? The landscape was changing, challenges and new questions abound.
Where would you be standing as He passed by? Waving a branch in celebration? Hiding as the Apostles did? In the temple as Herod was reigning? Looking on from a safe place, away from the crowd? Even if you were behind a palm tree or the temple, you would know what was going on that day. Jesus, some call him the Messiah, or a prophet, is finally in Jerusalem. He weeps when he sees the city and the blindness of the people, he is amazed at their deafness to his message.
And what of us? The Rev. Walter Burghardt writes, “The Church will survive hatred and heresy but not ‘lukewarmness.’” This man dies on the cross for us, and where are we? Holy Week is not an easy week, it should not be business as usual. Holy Week – such a familiar title, with its meaning a promise for all time. Is it just a holy week for Jesus or is it for us as well?
God has commissioned Jesus as God’s Messiah-liberator of the people. He came to fill our hearts with hope. That is the promise of Palm Sunday. It is fitting that we read the story of the Passion at Palm Sunday liturgy as well as the words of Isaiah, who calls the Messiah the “Suffering Servant,” linking this “servant” with Israel’s long hope for the Messiah’s reign of justice and peace. Hold on to each word today, each action. The promise of redemption is there. Wave the palm, get in the procession. Don’t hide behind the palm tree.
Join Loretto in praying these words from our Constitutions today, “We dedicate ourselves to Jesus Christ in his unique person, and to the new creation for which he died and rose.” ( I Am the Way, #12)