Palm Sunday always interrupts. Whatever we’ve been doing in Lent, wonderful spiritual disciplines, or fledgling forgetfulness, or often both – suddenly, Holy Week is upon us!
Palm branches waving, cloaks laid down, the Master mounts the colt upon which no one has ever sat, and Jesus the King rides into Jerusalem. Were the crowds proclaiming “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (said during the Eucharistic prayers at every Mass) to fall silent, the very stones would cry out! Creation groans in labor pains, while we await our redemption (Rom 8).
However, that processional Gospel reading then meets with the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, the abandonment of Psalm 22, and Luke’s Gospel’s description of the cross-shaped obedience of Christ by which he is bestowed the name which is above every name.
This is our King:
the humble champion of the poor,
the suffering servant,
whose love makes him vulnerable in this world,
who shares his bread, gives his very body,
who calls his followers to extend and depend upon hospitality,
whose followers are not to lord it over others,
who refuses violence,
who anticipates political machinations,
who speaks the truth in love,
who welcomes criminals into his kingdom,
who gives himself completely for the life of the world,
who is the Son of God.
Is this who we serve? Or have we made Jesus into our own image? As we encounter others on our journey of faith, do we do so as citizens of heaven, as followers of King Jesus whose law is love, or under the leadership of other rulers, other kingdoms, other voices? Is this Jesus our Lord, or have we given ourselves over to another? Can we hear his voice in the midst of all the noise, the frustration, the rage, the pain, the bullying, the lies, the hopes, the dreams, the desperation…?
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
–by Greg Walgenbach, Director of Life, Justice & Peace, Diocese of Orange